Alex Wheatle keeps my company in this episode. Yes, THE Alex Wheatle - author of countless novels, activist and subject of the Small Axe episode that told us we all need a Simian in our lives. We talk about unlearning inferiority, putting on fake accents and how to get your first book published. This chat was as delicious as the plantain I finally got to feed someone with. Enjoy.
The British novelist Alex Wheatle has such an extraordinary backstory that when he was working in the writers’ room for Steve McQueen’s BAFTA winning film series Small Axe, McQueen ended up making one of the films about Alex’s own life. Alex was raised in a care home where he was abused. He emgered as teenager in Brixton under-educated and ill-prepared for adulthood, and in 1981 was sent to prison for a year for his involvement in the Brixton Riots. Prison though turned out to be Alex's salvation. There he met a man who encouraged him to revive his childhood love of reading – and from that came his writing. He's now written 17 novels, has an MBE, and in 2016 won the Guardian’s Children’s Fiction Prize for his YA novel Crongton Knights. Alex defines himself as a survivor not a victim, and I found him an inspiring reminder of what can be achieved through perservance. We talked a lot about the difficulties for black authors in publishing both 20 years ago and now, and also about the extraordinary advantage a love of reading can give kids in even the direst circumstances. Just a reminder that you can buy Alex's books – and those by my other authors – here: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/francescasteele See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Steve McQueen’s Lovers Rock, Alex Wheatle, and Education with Robert Butler III
At the top of the show, we take some time to explain why we are changing our name from Who Shot Ya? to the temporary The Untitled Ify, Drea, & Alonso Project. You can read our full statement hereAfter we take care of that business, we do something we’ve never done before – talk about three separate movies in one episode! And there is no one better suited to talk about these movies than our guest. This week we are joined by the host of First Cut on YouTube, Robert Butler III. He is here to chat about Steve McQueen’s remaining films in the Small Axe series; Lovers Rock, Alex Wheatle, and Education. Plus we answer a question from our hotline about which director we’d like to see helm their own Small Axe-type film series. And, as always, we’ve got ‘Staff Picks.’Staff Picks:Ify – BlacKkKlansmanAlonso – Brute ForceDrea – SpontaneousRobert – UptightWith Ify Nwadiwe, Drea Clark, Alonso Duralde, and Robert Butler III
Marking the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Brixton Uprising, Stance explores the moments leading up to the uprising and the activism that inspired it, their connections to the Windrush scandal, and the 2021 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and subsequent #KillTheBill protests in Bristol. Looking at the uprising through film, academia, literature, and music, we explore political activism through poetry with globally renowned Jamaican poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson. Stance delves into Soundsystem Culture and the Smiley Culture collaboration with founder of Code 7 youth charity, DJ and musician Asher Senator. Novelist Alex Wheatle shares his firsthand account of being part of the uprising, going to prison and how it led to the collaborative partnership with director Steve McQueen in producing the hit drama series, Small Axe. We chat with Queen of Lovers Rock, Carroll Thompson about her record-breaking album, Hopelessly in Love released in 1981, and her campaigning work around the Windrush Scandal. But how far have we actually come? We discuss policy and fair policing with Dr. Rebekah Delsol of StopWatch. To end, Stance looks to new wave Croydon born singer-songwriter Rachel Chinouriri, and her upcoming EP Four° In Winter. Join the conversation at stancepodcast.com and all podcasting apps @stancepodcast @chrystalgenesis
Ep 199 // ‘Small Axe: Alex Wheatle’ / ‘Promising Young Woman’
BreakThru Radio Weekly
"J. McVay and Jacqueline Soller discuss ‘Alex Wheatle’ the fourth in filmmaker Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ series–available on Amazon Prime.Then J. and special guest Mia Brezin discuss ‘Promising Young Woman,’ directed by Emerald Fennell and starring Carey Mulligan and Bo Burnham–distributed by FilmNation.And we’ll also hear live performances from Tommy Sherrod and MC WhiteOwl, both recorded exclusively for BTRtoday.Episode Credits: Producer/Host: J. McVay Contributor on Movies: Jacqueline Soller Special Guest: Mia Brezin Composer/Editor: Hansdale Hsu[youtube]https://youtu.be/KuGI-i4jvHM[/youtube][youtube]https://youtu.be/XAx1KGmMeig[/youtube]00:00 - Intro01:07 - Movie Review: Jacqueline Soller on ‘Small Axe: Alex Wheatle’02:25 - Movie Chat w/ Jacqueline Soller & J. McVay (Spoiler Alert)23:10 - "Moonlight" (BTR Live Studio, 2021 - Tommy Sherrod25:55 - "Long Run" (BTR Live Studio, 2021) - MC WhiteOwl28:30 - Movie Review: Mia Brezin on ‘Promising Young Woman’30:30 - Movie Chat w/ Mia Brezin & J. McVay (Spoiler Alert)55:35 - Outro/credits56:22 - Finish."
The theme of assimilation is given a fascinating twist in Alex Wheatle, the fourth Small Axe film. While Mangrove and Red, White and Blue, in particular, depicted black people's attempts to assimilate into mainland British culture and life and the racism they faced, the title character here is a young black man brought up in an abusive children's home, orphaned from his parents, and whose move to Brixton sees him culturally dislocated and having to, in effect, learn to 'be black'.Cultural and familial dislocation are connected through Alex. The abandonment by his parents led to his upbringing by the state, amongst white Britons, and when an influential Rastafarian he meets in prison expounds on the importance of education and knowing one's past, to Alex, he's speaking just as much about his personal past as about the history of the African disapora. This is the most interesting aspect of Alex Wheatle and we focus on it, but there's more to discuss, including the continued invocation of music as a kind of life-giving force, how Alex learns to be black and British and the spaces in which that happens, and director Steve McQueen's expressive formal visual storytelling.Alex Wheatle elegantly tells a unique and complex story, and we continue to urge you to watch this remarkable series of films in its entirety.Recorded on 20th December 2020.