Updated: Mar 23
I binge watched this season... and so allocate time as it is indeed gripping!
As Ashley Walters is symbolic to my childhood [So Solid, Bullet Boy] I’ve also watched all previous seasons and have shifted to a new found appreciation of Kane Robinson.
How a bullet pierced my heart!
I remember sneaking into the cinema as a teenager, at the new renovated Ritzy in Brixton. The film was Bullet Boy.
And it had nothing to do with the Bullet boy.... but to do with the reflection of myself on screen.
I sat on the outskirts. Watching in.
I was a consumer of estate culture of protection and loyalty, naive of how the Boys in my Hood kept me safe.
But as I watched Bullet Boy it all became apparent that what I thought was American stories was on my doorstep.
How could I not know?
How could I tell the people that there were groups of people in London that are suffering from systemic oppression so bad that to eat they have to sell food?
When Top Boy first came out I desperately wanted to be casted in. And not just because of the fantasy of proximity to Kano...
But because of the proximity of the narrative to my actual life.
A middle-class Nigerian British feminist ranted to me once about the types of stage plays that are on about Black life.
"All they show is knife crime! Black on Black violence!! How is that even true or real of the Black experience??"
I sipped my coffee.
As she was a grown up Black person that was deluded and blinded about the inner city housing epidemic that was the root cause of violence where I was from.
"I want to see my story up there - White people just want to show us in a negative light that isn't true" - she continued.
Is this just a way for them to programme us into Black on Black violence?
Kidnapping our humanity?
The Analysis! This season of Top Boy did a really good job at exploring deeper issues of what leads to a life of selling drugs. I appreciated this because, in my experience there is a reason for dysfunction outside of the fact that you are Black and male.
Immigration – how does a family survive, if they have a right to stay here in London but not a right to work?
Death – As a native Londoner we did not choose to live in an expensive capital. What happens if your parent(s) (your main providers) die?
Black Father and Daughter relationships - explored through the chatacters Sully and Dris.
Whiteness - therefore superior to the Blacks on road. We see this power dynamic clearly in Lizzy and Jamie’s sexual relationship. But also that Lizzy as a woman has to 'blacken' herself through sex.
"White Woman tears" exposed!
t! The war between Generation Y and Generation Z!
Overall, I was hooked! I did have to take breaks because I just found the experience too intense and a bit too relatable. It is tragic that parts of London (often natives) experience this lifestyle... and we do need more diverse content about Black lives on our screens to balance the scale. However, like most rap songs of my generation state subliminally, this (Top Boy) was (and is) more than just a N*88@ story.
Acting ✮✮✮✮✮ shout out to Kane playing Sully and and Michael Playing Jamie who in my opinion both stole the show!
Directing – Yann Demange ✮✮✮✮✮ I loved how this was directed and shot. But I question whether the Director could spot inauthenticity like I could as he is not from London... or Jamaica.
Writer - Ronan Bennett ✮✮✮✮✮ As white as he is - his association with this life came across as very real probably because of his upbringing and passed (read the link above)! But loses a star because his Whiteness is still exploiting and privileged.