Following the recent release of Bashment, a gritty British film that promotes the importance and possibility of all round equality, by exploring ideas of race, sexuality and how the attitudes surrounding the two are surprisingly alike.
We caught up with director and activist Rikki Beadle-Blair to discuss the importance of the social meanings prevalent throughout his film.
Florence Hinton-Collyer: How would you pitch your film?
Rikki Beadle-Blair: An emotional thriller and epic love story set in the world of homophobic hip-hop. Raw, relevant, funny and uplifting.
RBB: I worked on a radio documentary about homophobic ragg and hip-hop in London and Jamaica. I talked to preachers, performers and people on the street and debated this issue.. It was life-changing experience and I wanted to take the conversation to another level, so I did.
FHC: What messages do you hope the audience will interpret from it?
RBB: That people are complex but the solution is simple: Love.
FHC: Why do you feel these messages need to be conveyed?
RBB: Everyone deserves to seen and heard. Everyone deserves their story to be told. Everyone deserves to be understood. That’s what my work aims to do. And make people laugh and wonder while I do it. And I want to do that for as many people as I can.
FHC: Why did you decide to focus on the relationship between the ‘nigga’ and queer community?
RBB: Because they have so much in common and so much to learn from one another. It’s an exciting romance.
FHC: How would you describe the journey made by these groups throughout the film?
RBB: Breathless, sexy, challenging and magical.
FHC: A pivotal point in your film is a homophobic attack on your protagonist’s boyfriend; do you think the matter of homophobia is being addressed properly in current world affairs?
RBB: I don’t think he’s my protaganist. All the characters are. I do think homophobia is getting more world attention. But we have a long way to go. That’s why you and journalists like are you are so vital.
FHC: JJ stands by Orlando despite all that happens, what makes him strong enough to do so?
FHC: Bashment was initially a play, what was the process you went through in order to adapt and it for film?
RBB: It was a great opportunity to show the characters private moments that were hard to convey on a stage. So i reduced the words and focused more on those unspoken moments. Like the post-attack ride on the moped….. Little moments of grace.
FHC: What advice do you have for those who wish to express messages of their own?
RBB: Don’t wait for permission. Tell your story. The world needs your vision and your voice.
FHC: What’s next for Rikki Beadle-Blair?
RBB: I’ve just been shooting ‘FREE’ a film for Stonewall and my company Team Angelica aimed at schoolkids confronting the question of bullying and homophobia. The average age of the cast is 11 and they are AMAZING. It’s an amazing experience and comes out in February 2014.