“Where you from?” I get asked this all the time, and when I reply ‘London’ they say: “No, where you really from?”
What are people really asking here? And why are they asking this?
Join me, Lillie Almond on my new podcast “Where you from?” to explore how this question makes people feel, what it means to them… and what people really mean when asking it.
Listen and subscribe now on Global Player.
This conversation carries threads that are not in the rest of this series.
Notably, Benjamin touches on the evolving meaning of, “Where you from?”
That is, he explores the idea of our cultural influences - and as to if they could in some ways be more topical than our heritage.
And that’s an immeasurably poignant question. Many of us are quite attached to our upbringing, so have an instinctive response - but then I have also been really shaped by my time living in different countries, so I do feel Benjamin’s forward thinking perspective.
Can you hear how this conversation hits different notes to others in the series? We carry the same themes of identity, what it means to us internally and to others when almost assessing us - but it carries some stand-out different ideas too.
What stood out most to you? I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts - drop me a message on Insta, I’m @almondsweetness - or hit me up on Twitter, where I’m @lilliealmond.
And thanks for listening to #whereyoufrompod. Definitely leave us a review x
Imagine receiving messages from people you’ve never met before - telling you that you’re not good enough for your surname.
That you don’t deserve it.
Some of the things that Shannon Singh shares with me in this chat are pretty mind-blowing.
And yet she is absolutely brilliant while talking with me in the studio. Shannon is super honest and candid to me about the highs and lows of her life before and after Love Island.
She tells me about how people respond to her accent, to the colour of her skin and to her name - and how critiqued all parts of her life, down to her teeth, are in the modelling industry.
We talk fetishisation and the commercial interest in people’s ethnicities. And Shannon is super real with me throughout, I’m so looking forward to you hearing this chat.
We also talk exploitation in the industry – honestly, all these strands are so important that it has been close to impossible to cut or edit this. So you get the real deal instead!
Finally, my gosh - can we all take a moment please? Shannon’s answer to how she feels about the question, “Where you from?” Wow.
That answer makes me urge you from the bottom of my heart to listen to this chat through to the end; I promise you, it’s worth it.
Let us know what you think of #whereyoufrompod! I’m @lilliealmond on Twitter and @almondsweetness on Insta.
And I will be thrilled if you leave us a review - thanks for listening x
Cool, so I went totally off-script, okay?
Because how could I not? This is a chat with Fazer - about music and where we’re at today - at a time of huge significance for this scene.
I think it’s wicked in this chat how Fazer is so positive about the growth of UK music.
Listen to his answer when I ask what he thinks about those who might be entering a scene for their own gain, without being personally invested: “It’s been happening since Elvis, mate.” Classic.
And I get the vibe that this is because it’s all love. I feel like Fazer’s upbringing showed him that, while where we’re from is foundation and formative - it shouldn’t define what we can and can’t do - and where we can and can’t go in life, you know?
Like, he’s seen and lived two sides of this - and that’s seen him manifest positivity.
What are you manifesting after listening to this chat? Let me know - I’m @lilliealmond on Twitter and @almondsweetness on Insta.
And we’d love you to leave us a review! Thanks for listening x
I found myself smiling from ear to ear in this chat, when Sacha talked about music, music and music being her surroundings during her younger years.
How STUNNING a surrounding to grow up in.
This chat is a rainbow of dynamics, because Sacha is candid about both the good and not so easy parts of her life. I hope people can draw from this - and find energy from her inspirational strength of character.
Sacha is not gonna be told to stay in any lane - for anyone. It’s almost ridiculous that a question in this interview was about if she needed to code-switch, because that just ain’t her. And we love to see it.
There’s some exclusive content in this convo which you won’t hear here - where we chat body types and ALL that good stuff, so keep tuned for when we release that!
But in the meantime, enjoy this conversation - and remember: diversity is nothing without inclusion. I’ll let Sacha explain the rest in this chat.
There are loads of strands here, which one stands out to you? Let me know: I’m @lilliealmond on Twitter and @almondsweetness on Insta.
And as always, thanks for listening x
It feels like I forgot that Jaspreet was a guest in this conversation, because her words hit like those of a close friend.
A lot of the things she talks about in this chat are things that my friends and I have spoken about for years. And, I’ve probably said it a lot by this stage, but so much of this chat is totally in keeping with the essence of this series!
I’m really pained by the racism that Jaspreet unpacks from her school years - and much of it, especially that about appropriation, resonates deeply today.
But listen to how Jaspreet speaks about the young people she works with. Listen to how she describes the way they won’t take all this bull.
Remember, Lammy said he was inspired by young people today, too. It’s uplifting.
Gosh, there are too many moments in the chat where I’m slapping my thigh because Jaspreet hits the nail on the head so poignantly. But - I’ll hold off on spoiler alerts and leave this conversation with you, your ears and your mind.
One of Jaspreet’s final questions to me is, “What is meaningful change?”
What do you think? Let me know: I’m @lilliealmond on Twitter and @almondsweetness on Insta.
Thanks for listening.
Patrick Hutchinson flew into the world’s spotlight without meaning to.
He wants to see change - but he isn’t going to spend time worrying about this. He is instead taking action.
The murder of George Floyd sparked reactions all over the world.
Patrick speaks in this conversation about these reactions - and about what happened at the demo where he was photographed carrying a counter-protestor over his shoulder to safety.
He talks with me about the instinct and empathy that were woven into this moment, which captured the attention of people far and wide.
We learn in this chat how Patrick has brought this instinct and empathy into the work he’s building on for the future.
He really highlights the poignancy of education, early years and learning - when it comes to understanding in the future. And that’s something we’ve heard consistently through this series.
That protest where that now-infamous photo of Patrick was taken - it feels like so long ago. Have things changed? Have we kept the momentum? Drop me a line and let me know what you think: I’m @lilliealmond on Twitter and @almondsweetness on Insta. Thanks for listening.
Nazir Afzal has turned racism on its head.
He’s faced both violent and insidious abuse - both physical and verbal - but has built resilience. His experiences have catalysed his fight for justice.
And what a fight it has been.
All of the brazen racism that Nazir has faced is disgraceful; one thing which resonates with me right now - and it’s something which really stings - is Nazir telling me that some people said he only got to where he is, because of the colour of his skin.
This totally strips away the hard work, the dedication, the hours and the soul that an individual puts into their work and their hard-earned position.
I have come across this. I am very aware of people who say these things. You may have come across them too.
In this chat, Nazir and I explore themes of justice, culture, background, racism and law.
Nazir’s career has been rich; his personal experience has fed into this. I think that when we face adversity, we channel this into seeking equality - through what we do in our daily work and life.
This could be on the smallest or the largest levels, but it gives me hope that maybe we can turn raw negativity into a journey towards change.
Let me know how you feel about this chat, do you share any of these experiences? I’m @lilliealmond on Twitter, and @almondsweetness on Insta. Thanks for listening.
Those who use and exploit others must be held to account.
I really hope that the receipts that Kwajo is airing, bring about the accountability and change that we need to see across the board.
There is pride and strength in what “Where you from?” means to Kwajo - yet the concept has also seen him fight for drastic improvements to social housing.
It’s cutting to hear Kwajo talk candidly about what he has seen both in his own life - and while out visiting people who are being mistreated by their housing associations.
“Where you from?” isn’t solely about the location of where Kwajo grew up, or the places where he and his family have lived.
And the idea of where we’re from isn’t solely about global geography, either. It’s about our background amongst other people - and how society responds to that. It’s about how society perceives that background, how it treats us as a result… and how ‘authority’ and a sense of hierarchy is built around all of this.
Kwajo has witnessed first-hand, learned about, and held to account - the parts of society that are using others’ “where you from?” to their own advantage. He is addressing those who have been looking down on the people they are meant to be serving.
It’s eye-opening to see Kwajo taking on the generic PR responses from some of the biggest corporations in social housing. Words are not good enough excuses anymore - they never were.
So, I look forward to seeing real accountability across the sector - and across other spaces which use and abuse people because of where they are from.
Let me know what you think of all of this - what stood out to you, what connected with you? I’m @lilliealmond on Twitter and @almondsweetness on Insta - see you there.
Education is the top, middle and last line for Harry, aka White Yardie in this conversation.
And it’s really testament to the essence of this series: intent is so important in these conversations and spaces.
Offensive language and microaggressions can be both deliberate and accidental.
People do make mistakes without meaning to; we’ve all done this. I feel like we can learn to forgive these, if people then aim to learn and make changes when moving forwards.
Because, once we learn what is not okay - we have the option to improve for the better, if we intend to.
For those who make mistakes and don’t want to make changes - or for those who are deliberately being offensive? Maybe progress isn’t so clear a path in those instances.
In this chat, Harry fully unpacks what he’s learned about all of this. And of course, we also learn how he feels about the question, “Where you from?” - and what it means to him.
Another theme that Harry and I chat about, is the nature of being forced to explain where you’re from: being forced to justify why you are here and how that came to be. This is so exhausting.
So, it’s a shame that a part of this conversation is about as to if Harry’s been forced to convince people, when saying where he’s from; none of us should ever have to do this.
Thanks for listening. Subscribe and leave a review! And let me know what you think: I’m @lilliealmond on Twitter - and on Insta, I’m @almondsweetness.
A chat which I absolutely ADORE and am deeply pained by at the same time.
No, that’s not because I’m ill and sound like I’m struggling to stay alive - but because I’m worried that many DO still expect us to be grateful for a seat at the table.
Grateful to have our voices heard - but not listened to. Grateful to work for free or the bare minimum, grateful to be exploited.
But truly, this chat does mean the world to me.
Nish Kumar speaks on a level about protest, appropriation, the relationship between Asian stand-up and stand-up by Black comedians - and something I was forgiven for asking about: what the deal was with The Mash Report getting cancelled.
Today, we are in a space where we can reflect on what was and wasn’t progress - but are people doing this? Are we learning lessons and fixing things - or is society pretending to care, while glossing over the fact that many still face ongoing exploitation?
I hope the future nods to some points raised in this bittersweet conversation between Nish and I.
The landlady cat Zambia says the chat is pretty dope, so you know it’s gonna be high quality in your ears.
I’d love to hear from you. Please do share this episode with your friends and say hi to me: I’m @lilliealmond on Twitter and @almondsweetness on Insta.
I love this conversation with Nadiya Hussain.
And I was surprised in this chat when Nadiya replied to me - with an answer which suggested that maybe I’d asked where she’s from. I felt conscious and worried that gosh, am I being heard as the person who asks *that* question?
But why? There isn’t anything wrong with that question - because the meaning is in the intent.
And when I listen once again to Nadiya’s answers, I hear her thoroughly answer my question: “What does ‘Where you from?’ mean to you?”
And that answer comes through in countless gems in this convo:
Recognition of work ethic, which so many of us will deeply relate to.
The Cornish Pasty Police - they’re out there!
The fact that billboards featuring people of colour does not mean that the work is complete…
… and the blessing that we can thrive in spite of adversity - by creating our own unique spaces.
I’d be lying to you if I said those were my only highlights in this chat, because we have seasoned it with flavour and depth.
Which of those flavours did you catch? What was most poignant to you and what did you think? Let me know! I’m @lilliealmond on Twitter - and on Insta, I’m @almondsweetness. Dm me, shout me, hit me up x
Why are some boys and men hit by stop and search more than others?
In this episode, Shadow Foreign Secretary and Tottenham MP David Lammy speaks with me about what would happen if a Professor at Oxford University was rolling a joint - and what would happen if a young boy in Salford or Brixton was rolling a joint.
This is deeply intertwined with, “Where you from?”
We talk about David’s experience as ‘the first Black Briton’ to study law at Harvard; what do these ‘firsts’ actually mean? That was really important progress - yet we all know that society has so much work left to do.
David also tells me that all countries over-imprison their minorities. I don’t know if I’m surprised by this, yet it echoes in my mind.
And we talk about how some of us have had to work harder than our peers to get to where we are.
I feel like there are experiences in this chat that connect with so many of us - and I’m looking forward to hearing about what stands out most to you.
Tweet me @lilliealmond or hit me up on Instagram @almondsweetness. #whereyoufrompod
“Where you from?” What makes this question so important? Why do people ask it and why is it interesting to them?
… and what does it really mean?
LBC reporter Lillie Almond sits down with big names including David Lammy, Nish Kumar, Nadiya Hussain, White Yardie and more to explore the question "Where you from?”
“What does it mean when the Home Secretary is a Hindu British Indian? And what does it mean when that Home Secretary chooses to enforce an immigration policy - that by her own admission would have prevented her parents from coming into the country?
“Are we going to be happy with symbolic representation, that results in us being essentially tools of the white supremacist patriarchal society?" - Nish Kumar
"Many immigrants would have grown up with the experience of their parents saying you've got to be ten times better - because their parents know that there are hurdles in front of your kids and you can't slack off. I meet a lot of young people and they really can't stand that idea because like, why should I have to be any different?
“There were moments where I felt very insecure and there were moments where I felt very lonely and very down. You know, if you come into Westminster, as I did as a young black man - I was never anonymous in the palace of Westminster." - David Lammy
"To date, I have never been in a situation where I felt completely comfortable. I always stuck out like, I never ever felt represented. I always felt like, this room doesn't look like me. It doesn't feel like me - it doesn't sound like me. And there was definitely a problem.
“The truth is the reality of the situation is that space was never created for someone like me. That's why I'm not there. That's why I look at my job as not only a career, but also a responsibility, to create space for people who look, sound, feel like me to believe that they can be a part of the industry that was never meant for them. And I'm here to show them that this, you can have this career. You can take this space up because it's not about taking somebody else's space. It's about creating your own." -Nadiya Hussain
Lillie explores the impact that the question, "Where you from?" has had on these peoples’ lives. We explore how it makes them feel - and learn how their journeys have been shaped by this discourse.
Subscribe and listen to "Where you from?" on Global Player.