Cocopine Corner is a celebratory platform based on YouTube and Instagram.
We aim to build a cultural archive for the people, by the people. By providing our viewers with authentic cross-cultural and intergenerational conversations, we deliver inclusive and relatable cultural content for anyone of any age to see.
Hi, I’m Nicole, and I’m the founder and heartbeat of Cocopine Corner.
So first let me make a disclaimer before my imposter syndrome kicks in, my rosacea flares up and I feel like I’m not going to do the job justice. I don’t have a PHD in this field, I haven’t published a book and as usual my studies were in a completely different field to the components that make up this platform. What I do have is lived experiences, a mind full of curiosity and a passion to put elders’ stories on the map, enabling my generation and the ones after us to understand our history and how it informs our identity in this cosmopolitan world.
I was born in Dover and grew up in the little seaside town of Deal in Kent. My biological father was an English Dave with some maternal Italian roots that defined his soft curly hair and olive complexion. My mother migrated to the UK in the 1970’s from Trinidad to pursue a career with the NHS in nursing, she came from a predominantly Indo-Caribbean background and to this day, radiates the most beautiful fusion of West Indian and South Asian heritage.
Growing up I never felt White enough, Caribbean enough, or South Asian enough and I struggled to understand why I looked the way I did. My identity has always been ambiguous, whether it’s individuals perplexed at my very British name, business owners trying to speak their mother tongue to me or people trying to flatter me with an ‘exotic’ compliment. Throughout my childhood I gripped on to the minimal history I was taught, but still couldn’t place myself in society. Where were the people that looked like me? They were missing from my books, toys, and the media around me. I remember the excitement of seeing someone that looked like me on the TV and wanting to be their best friend, remember Justine Littlewood from Tracey Beaker? Well, she was the ultimate imaginary bestie – tanned, long dark hair and a very British name like me. Cultural stereotypes consumed my awareness, and my hesitance would heighten when I had the responsibility of ticking one solid box to define my ethnic makeup.
As a mixed-race woman, I felt that my whitewashed history classes had failed me. We explored the Egyptians, delved into the Romans, uncovered the Tudors and then took a mysterious leap to World War One and World War Two, everything I consumed was a from a euro-centric perspective. Empire has been totally disregarded, and yet it is such an imperative period to help us understand why we are this culturally diverse nation. History is history, so why do the changemakers pick and choose what they want to outlast the test of time? When I moved to London at 22, I decided enough was enough. These were my key formative years as a young adult and I knew that if I didn’t know where I’d come from, how on earth would I know where I was going? I attended all sorts of free events, lectures and exhibitions across the city after work and decided to learn more through night classes. By learning about my history and identity, I realised that I’m not a second-class citizen in this country, but very much a product of The British Empire and a decedent of the displaced.
Everyone knows about a city’s potency to consume an individual, we become so focused on our own schedules that we tend to stop and admire the world around us. I watch the elders at the bus stop, on the high street, bartering in the market and I watch those who have not yet succumbed to the gentrification of their own neighbourhoods, but are existing. I admire them. I think about their stories, their journeys, their strength and determination to not only make it in this country but raise a family against the adversities they faced as immigrants. I can’t help but think that if these elders articulated their stories to the nation they’d inspire and educate so many. You may question why elders have never spoken up, collectively they were just getting on with their lives, fighting their own personal battles to assimilate and be accepted in this country. As pillars of the community, they deserve to voice their narratives and amplify their personal accounts and memories with pride.
I believe that in order to become progressive, we must collectively identify, acknowledge and accept history. From this we can produce and educate future generations who are proud to be British. Empathy and cultural sensitivity cost us nothing yet are so invaluably impactful to the cohesion of our society.
Because of my mother, I am anchored to the shores of the Caribbean and India, because of my father I hold ties to Sicily and the White Cliffs, but Britain is my home. I’m proud of my family’s stories and hope that Cocopine Corner makes you proud of yours.