by Chioma Anyanwu
Originally published: May 11, 2017
There have been odd occasions where I would think that being black limited my opportunities. Thinking this out loud sounds crazy, but every time I exited the audition room, a huge part of me just knew that they already had their mind set on what they wanted. Bringing in an African or Asian girl and throwing them in the mix of predominantly white line-ups was just their way of ticking a box. I would say earlier in my career I have been put forward for stereotypical roles of an aggressive black girl growing up in the rough parts of London who life is spiralling downwards. The story line filled with betrayal, broken family ties and early pregnancy, this is what I would call the era of Kidulthood. I’m sure that these were stories that reflected some black teenage girls however that were the only stories that seemed to be told.
I am Black British woman, Nigerian descent who grew up in a predominantly white middle-class area with an RP accent. I grew up watching various programmes on CBBC, CITV, Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. Thinking back, I wouldn’t say that I recognised or even registered that people of colour were under-represented or even misrepresented. However as I grew more serious about the profession, I started to look for role models within the industry, but I realised not many of them were of colour. The images presented to us on the screen clearly did not reflect our nation off screen.