‘ironically, what did take my breath away was the confirmation that I am not typically native of ANYWHERE. Not typically native sums up my life – sums up being the darkest of a mixed race family, sums up being the only black kid on my street and in my school, sums up trying to make sense of my own version of blackness but finding it nowhere – not on screens, in books, on stages, in magazines, on the radio… nowhere.’ 

Natalie Ibu, Artistic Director & CEO

Lots of people are taking ancestry tests. Lots of black people are taking ancestry tests.

More and more, we’re listening to podcasts in the office about how the increase in DNA testing is impacting on racial politics in America. More and more, we’re reading articles on the meanings people are drawing from their ancestry test results. More and more, we’re watching someone’s ancestry journey unfold on social media. Our AD, Natalie, recently took one and the results were typically untypical: ‘If you’d asked me what my heritage was I’d have said 1/2 Nigerian, 1/4 Cameroonian and 1/4 White Scottish….. turns out I’m far less Nigerian than I thought…’

This got us wondering what an ancestry test could mean to people that are constantly being asked that question – ‘where are you from?’. Being part of a diaspora means you’re constantly interrogated about where you come from and how you came to be here. Does finding out about where you (every single percentage of you) really come from change anything about how you understand yourself?

tiata fahodzi are seeking thoughts from black British people – if you’ve ever taken an ancestry test or thought about taking one, please fill out:

– this survey if you have OR 

– this one if you haven’t but are thinking about taking one. 

Here are some results we’ve been sent already:

natalie ibu


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