Denise Chaila: abuse online, racism in Ireland and raising her voice
"I think that, honestly, I would regret the things that I do not say far more than I would regret anything that I do say."
Limerick native Denise Chaila has said Ireland can do better in dealing with racism, and told Ryan Tubridy on Friday's Late Late Show that she was scared to leave her house for a month after the abuse she received online after a recent 'Other Voices' performance.
Born in Zambia, Chaila spoke eloquently and passionately about her own experiences of racism in Ireland, and using her voice as a musician to speak about issues that affect her as a black Irish woman.
Speaking on the Late Late on Friday, Chaila revealed the scale of the racist abuse she received online after her 'Other Voices' performance this summer, and how it changed her perspective on how she used her voice;
"I felt like it was actually a moment for me to realise I needed to be more responsible about how I navigated my blackness in this country because up until that point and with all of the Black Live s Matter protest, we had been talking... We had been vocal but it took a very long time for white people in this country to see the reality of the trauma and the wound that black Irish people deal with."
She went on to speak about how the history of the Irish people shows we can be more compassionate to asylum seekers in this country;
"Irish people know what freedom is, we have more in common with each other than we don't. Black people and Irish people have a history of shared colonisation, and a shared history of travel, travel unwillingly in the face of and in response to trauma.
"We have a responsibility to remember who we are in that response to trauma and say that... you know when someone says "I'm advocating for my freedom because I hate people in Direct Provision", what kind of freedom will you gain by beating someone over the head? Someone who only came here to survive, to work?"
The rapper also spoke about the abuse she and her friends have received in person, not just on social media, and the need for people to speak out against it if and when they can;
"I never want to see another friend of mine leave their groceries at Tesco because they're getting racist abuse from people in the queue. And this is the dark side of what we choose to do when we diminish what happens on the internet and online...
- Silent witness.
- It is! It is absolutely a silent witness. And we put ourselves... we make ourselves by our complacency guilty of enabling things. As artists, as musicians, not everybody has to speak because not everyone is safe to speak. However, I feel compelled to because I don't want my music without my soul in it. And I am a black, Irish woman and these are the things that matter to me, I've got nothing in me except the truth really. Whatever I gain or lose because of not... I think that honestly I would regret the things that I do not say far more than I would regret anything that I do say."
You can see more from the brilliant interview below: