You may have briefly spotted Snakeyman as a Nigerian criminal in Channel 4′s Top Boy last month, and in a recent interview with The Voice the actor/rapper opened up about dealing with stereotypes and ‘subtle’ racism during his time in the industry.
Snakeyman, real name Arnold Oceng, has been a big supporter of anti-racism campaigns, in particular the charity Love Music Hate Racism.
He recalls how he had experienced racial stereotyping on the set of BBC One’s Grange Hill, but decided not to take it too seriously:
I remember one of the cast members would drop jokes, like ‘don’t leave your phone around, Arnie will nick it’ and they all laughed and little things like that.
I remember one time I was running on set and another character was like, ‘Arnie, where you running too, you stole something? They said these little things, but because I know they don’t mean it I just laughed it off, I know they don’t mean it maliciously.
If it was now, I would bring it up. I’m at the age where I can voice my views, but when I was younger I would rather not go through any confrontation and just get along.
Oh to be young and naive. For future reference though Arnold, if people make such ‘jokes’ again they probably aren’t completely innocent.