Mixed-race Kizzy Meriel-Crawford says she was told 'go back where you came from' when she arrived in the town
An acclaimed Welsh-speaking, mixed-race singer has claimed she was racially abused as she arrived at Laugharne to play at its Dylan Thomas festival last week.
Merthyr-based 18-year-old Kizzy Meriel-Crawford had just arrived in the Carmarthenshire town with her mother and two younger siblings to perform a session for BBC Radio Wales when she was approached by an elderly man who told her to “go back where she came from’”.
“We’d just pulled up and I was getting my four-year-old sister’s pushchair out of the car when this guy, who must have been in his late 60s, came out of a nearby house and told us we were blocking a junction – which we weren’t,” said the teenager, who’s lived in Wales since she was two.
“Then he just looked at me and said, ‘I hope there aren’t any more like you where you come from’, before turning to my mum and adding, ‘If you’ve anymore like her at home, don’t bring them down here, we don’t need it’.
“I was just stunned and speechless, we both were. The only other witness to it was a youngish guy who looked like he didn’t know how to react, and so just walked off.
“I didn’t know what to do either – this was about half an hour before I was supposed to go on the radio.
“It wasn’t until a while afterwards that I realised I should have spoken back in Welsh, but I’ve never been much good at sticking up for myself.
“My emotion only really comes out in my music and, luckily, I chose a couple of really empowering songs to sing on the day which I’d written as a result of past situations just like that.”
Born in Oxford, Kizzy moved to be nearer her maternal grandparents in Aberaeron in 1999 after her English mother and Barbadian father divorced.
Attending a Welsh medium primary school, she said she experienced prejudice from an early age.
“I used to get teased a lot by the other kids.
“They thought because I was brown I wasn’t Welsh and I used to get stuff like, ‘you’ve been dipped in chocolate’ and other comments I wouldn’t like to repeat.
“I don’t know if they were being deliberately cruel though, more that it was just their way of dealing with someone different looking to them.”
However, one unfortunate incident still sticks vividly in her mind.
“I remember my mum approaching the headmistress to ask what their policy on racism was and being told there wasn’t one because there were hardly any black people in the area.
“She then added, ‘We have got one little mixed-race boy though – we call him our little chocolate drop’.
“That was when I was five, so I would have hoped those attitudes might have changed by now.”
Signed to Charlotte Church’s music publishing group See Monkey Songs, Crawford’s young career has so far been a glittering one.
Several notable wins include the 2012 Merthyr & RCT Singer-Songwriter competition – which resulted in prize money to record with Geri Halliwell and Ed Sheeran – scooping the Brwydr Y Bandiau at the National Eisteddfod 2013 and being recognised at the recent BBC Wales Horizons Awards.
She’s also appearing at this year’s Hay Fringe and is currently recording her debut album.
“I love living in Wales and will always enjoy going to Laugharne despite what happened – I holidayed there a lot as a child,” said Kizzy, for whom music provides both strength and solace.
“I want to become an ambassador for Wales through my songs and my multicultural heritage.
“I also want to bring the Welsh sound to people who have never heard the language before.
I’m so passionate about it because I feel I owe everything to this country.
“It’s made me what I am today,” she added.
Source: Wales Online
Show racism the red card interviewed Kizzy back in October, you can read the article HERE