Tobias

Listen to Tobias' story as part of The Making of Black Britain oral history project

By The Making of Black Britain

Tobias and Sandra on Tobias' first day at university (2021)The Making of Black Britain

Tobias is of mixed British, Ghanaian, Caribbean and Dutch heritage. 
He was born in Britain and is the son of Sandra, and grandson of Monica. He lives with his family in Knightsbridge, London. 


Tobias was interviewed by The Making of Black Britain on the 15th September 2021.

Tobias, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Tobias talks about his friends
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You look a certain way... therefore you grew up here.

If I really needed help with, let's say I’d broken up with my girlfriend, or something like that, I can just as easily have a convo with my guy from South Croydon, then the convo that I'm having with my guy who lives in Battersea it's the same.

Tobias, aged 3, Italy, 2005, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Tobias, aged 6, London, 2008, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Tobias, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Tobias talks about his identity
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I'm a regular English guy.

I have an English accent. And I would say, if I was in Germany, and someone asked me, 
“Where do you come from?” 
"I'm from England." 
But if someone's like, “Where'd you come from?” 
Yeah, of course, "I'm from Ghana."

Tobias with best friends, Sofia and Emily, Italy, 2003, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Tobias with his grandfather, Ben, Ghana, 2014, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Tobias, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Tobias discusses Black Lives Matter
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“Being violent is the only way.” And it's just not.

If I ask a random person who's probably the most influential person in terms of getting black rights achieved, everyone's gonna say, Martin Luther King, and everyone knows that guy didn't use any violence. So why now you come in here to riot and stuff?

Tobias and his school friends on the rugby pitch, 2018, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Tobias aged 15, with his award for English, London, 2019, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Tobias, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Tobias talks about race
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I could not care less what anyone thinks.

The fact that so many times people have asked me “Oh yeah, like what's it like being a black guy in in Britain?” I'm like, “Well, what's it like being a white guy in Britain?” It's the same, you know? You know what I mean? So I mean, some people get that we’re just normal people and then other people are like “You know, got to be careful of that guy.”

Tobias, Sandra and Monica, on Monica's 80th birthday, London, 2016, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Monica, Isabelle and Tobias, London, 2018, From the collection of: The Making of Black Britain
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Tobias, London (2021) by Vanely BurkeThe Making of Black Britain

Tobias talks about his experiences with the police
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Stay calm, and be polite.

And then all of a sudden this big van pulls up, like, like, right next to me and like five armed police officers step out and they're like, “What's your name? Where do you live?” I'm like, “Woah,” and they're like, “Oh, you know, there's been… this happened here. So we're looking at potential suspects in the area.” 

Tobias and Sandra on Tobias' first day at university (2021)The Making of Black Britain

Tobias and his mum, Sandra, on Tobias' first day of university, 2021

Now listen to Tobias' mother, Sandra, tell her story for The Making of Black Britain.

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