Ashley Walters says TV needs “more Black faces on screen”

"Bringing new talent to the table will give this movement longevity"

Ashley Walters has called for increased Black representation in TV and cinema, as well as in writing and directorial roles.

Speaking to The Guardian in a new interview, the Top Boy actor was asked whether he felt “pressure” to support the Black Lives Matter movement. “Behind the scenes, I’m fighting for Black voices every day,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for many years. Posting something on social media might raise awareness temporarily but I want to make real change.

“We need to see more Black faces on screen but also behind the camera, be it writing, producing or directing. Bringing new talent to the table will give this movement longevity.”

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Walters also said he believed the events of 2020 “woke up a lot of people who didn’t realise racism was that bad.”

“It shone a light on how hard it is sometimes to just live your life,” the former So Solid Crew man said. “It’s little things, too. The other day, I mentioned to a white friend how when planning holidays, me and my wife have to choose carefully which countries we go to. We’ve had so many bad experiences where people aren’t used to seeing Black families. This guy was like: ‘Wow, I had no idea.’

“Maybe change isn’t happening as fast as we’d like but things are moving forward. Long may it continue,” he added.

Top Boy
‘Top Boy’ season three. CREDIT: Chris Harris/Netflix

Earlier this week (January 25) Walters teased Top Boy’s upcoming fourth season, calling the next edition of the lauded show a “banger”.

Filming is underway on season four after being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and – in an NME Friends Like These interview with his contemporary Noel Clarke – the actor gave an update on the show’s progress.

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“Because of COVID, we’ve lost so many locations so we’re just having to move with what we can,” Walters explained. “One day we’re doing [episode] six, then we’re back to one, then to three.

“It’s been difficult, but rest assured to everyone listening or watching, we’ve got another banger for ya. It’s definitely going to be good.”

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