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Lyon: a library of African diaspora culture chez Cyril

Cyril is a well of knowledge with a passion for African diaspora culture, and he kindly hosted me for a few days Lyon. I scratched the surface of his wonderful library – always a source of inspiration. I'm looking forward to his forthcoming book, Voices of the Diaspora.

Cyril remarked on how I helped him to discover new things in his own city. I marvelled at the serenity of his apartment and of Lyon in general. The quiet of Lyon after the roar, the bustle of Bali, was astonishing. Structurally Lyon is my ideal city: bike friendly, walkable urban planning, elegant tree-top apartment blocks, shady courtyards, turquoise rivers, steep hills and lookouts.

There are also many beautiful Afro-French ppl, most notably the gorgeous diva of Trio Aliado who we heard at the Opera terrace. This lady almost made me cry with her beauty, her powerful stage presence. I was moved to tears with empathy for a younger me... otherworldly, head-turning and for all I knew, utterly unique. Of course even a very a big Afro is not unique, but in snow-white Ireland it had been.

Even now, with my natural salt-and-pepper Afro, my look is still unique – living in majority white countries, I haven't seen women with the same hair and the courage to wear it fully natural. With the self-hatred that colonialism instilled in our people, as well as racism, misogyny and ageism – it does take courage to just be yourself. Cyril's British partner Gertrude has Ugandan heritage. We watched YouTube videos and worked on our hair skills together. I want to learn how to cornrow braid my hair.

The image below should open a gallery of photos I took in the city of Lyon, and a few of the gems from Cyril's library for future reading!

Lyon 2017 chez cyril & gertrude


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