It all started in early March when the legendary Samuel L Jackson went on a radio show and basically suggested that Black British actors don’t deserve roles in American movies; specifically speaking about Daniel Kaluuya’s role in Get Out and how he “grew up in a country where they’ve been interracial dating for a hundred years” and somehow this makes him less qualified for the job.
Jackson’s comments have opened a whole can of worms creating an unnecessary conflict and over the past few weeks, viagra 40mg buy more about I and many other Black Britons have noticed a trend where Black Americans seem to make a mockery of our struggle and talent. From a group of 40-something old men calling Stormzy a Drake wannabe for his no.1 album, link to Black Twitter sending shots at each other over Drake featuring two UK grime artists on #MoreLife – It seems like there is some kind of division when it comes to the two and the conflict spills over into all walks of life, from music and film to politics and literature.
I wonder if Jackson ever stopped to think about why so many British actors go overseas to work; time and time again, black Britons are being denied roles that are actually helpful to their careers so why wouldn’t they fly across the world to work in a place where their voices are being heard? We live in a world where everyone is so worried about others taking their things that they don’t stop to focus on what it is that they’re doing wrong, or could be doing better. We have to remember that life isn’t a competition and it’s a real shame if our American brothers and sisters feel threatened. But then there’s the other side of the spectrum where we create for ourselves: our own movies, music, brands, you name it. Then we’re accused of copying or being unoriginal and we’re pitted against each other: think Naomi vs Tyra; this pisses me off because it’s implying that black Britons are incapable of thinking for ourselves and only draw inspiration from whatever is going on in America as if we don’t have issues of our own.
For our whole lives, Black Britons have been ignored and our existence almost forgotten; we learn about the Civil Rights Movement but never the Brixton riots. We hear about the BET Awards but rarely ever the MOBO awards. There is a huge understanding about the struggle of Black people in America but that of Black people anywhere else in the world is dismissed and when these issues are discussed, there’s always the same rhetoric of “But that’s nothing compared to African Americans” or “You’re lucky to be living in England and not America”. There shouldn’t have to be a battle of the oppressed for one person’s struggle to be recognised and it’s about time we start appreciating each other and our talent because we have so much to offer.
And never forget- if Drake can become an honorary member of BBK, there’s space for all of us.
Written by Sayo Olu