We know you best for playing Dris in Top Boy. Tell us about how you got casted into the show?
Firstly, I got put in contact with des Hamilton casting director. I was helping to find children to come in for auditions. I did speak to the writer on a number of occasions before anything. I didn’t have a clear idea of what was going on but I knew some sort of movie was being filmed before I found out it was a series. I was asked by the casting director if I wanted to be part of it and I agreed. I was given a date to come in to audition. I did so and I got the part. I was also told that it was exactly what they were looking for and I was the ‘real deal’ , that made me very happy.
Top Boy is based on true events, how true to life is it and do you know people that the show is based on?
I think the show represents 60 percent of what actually goes on in the streets of London, mainly Hackney. I can say this because I’ve lived there from a young age and seen it all. A lot of scenes that you see in Topboy are based on true events. I wouldn’t say I know any of the particular people that the stories have come from but I do know a fair share of the boroughs gangs over the years from always trying to get the younger ones away from that life, doing so can be very risky as you can be targeted by the police as a gang member your self like I was or by rival gangs depending on where you are based.
How did the local community is East London take to the show being aired?
Personally, from what I’ve seen and heard. The communities in East London love the show and think that it is a very good representation of what some of these communities are like and what some of these young men/women, parents and families go through in these boroughs, because your average man or woman wouldn’t have a clue what this dark world is like.
There was one occasion where I asked my daughters mother, who is not from London, what she thinks of Hackney as a place to live, she thought it was a great and amazing place, which it is. The pizza shops, cafes, bars, coffee shops, markets and all of that stuff. We were actually walking through a park and were having a conversation about what part of the borough she should move to and I said to her “do you know someone’s been shot in this park?” Her reply was “hahahah, no one gets shot in Hackney”. Cut a long story short every single flat she wanted to move to I disapproved. We then went on to speak about the police and gang life in Hackney that I wouldn’t comment on anymore because I don’t want to be targeted by the cops lol.
Moving on, there’s been a lot of arguments with people who actually think that the show is glamourising gang culture and some who think that it is actually good for the youth to have a better understanding on the street life, how it works and why they shouldn’t ever want to be part of that. To be honest, the personal arguments I had was like the battle between a character and real life.
Did you ever think the show would get so big?
Not in a million years, first time round was sick. I didn’t believe one bit that this was gonna air on TV and when the date got closer and closer. I suddenly then realised I might not be able to get a job in Westfield anymore. It’s kind of crazy how huge the show has become thanks to the actors, directors, writer and producers who set the foundation of Top Boy. it’s a shame most of them don’t have a role on the show anymore after it’s huge success powered by musician Drake, I believed liked the show and wanted it back after channel 4 discontinued it and somehow pitched it to Netflix.
What was your biggest highlight doing the show?
My biggest highlight was actually filming the show not far from my house and feeling very proud of myself.
Happy that the young ones got to see that and understand that you can do much more in life than hang out on the estate, we know that’s not as easy as said but that was something that made me feel great.
When you’re not acting, what do you get up to in your spare time?
In my spare time, which is a lot of time, for fun I write a lot of lyrics but eventually put them in the bin as I feel like what I write is too honest and sometimes scares me. Some other writing I do is scripts that I eventually want to film when I earn enough money to do so.
I love to party, drink with friends, trying to teach them a few things on astronomy, well just the bit I know. It’s really funny when a drunk lady says the stars in the nights sky are lights reflecting from houses then gets into all the flat earth stuff “schools need to teach this lesson”.
I get on my mums nerves to have a laugh, spend time with my kids cooking or teaching them how to be boxers. That’s actually not as fun as I thought, being punched in the head several times. I love cooking everyday literally and have hopes of opening a fast food Caribbean restaurant @island_grub. Fun is fun for me man, guys messaging me about their girlfriends - that’s fun too.
Can you tell us about what projects are you working on now and when can we expect to see you next?
I am currently not working on any projects at the moment due to Coronavirus. As I mentioned before I am currently writing my second part to my short film “ Three roads”, which is actually on YouTube now. Part two will be a great watch as it continues from part one, so go watch that. Another project I am currently working on is a podcast @cakescognac and a drama school for local youth in Hackney that want to get into acting and editing short films. I’m working on this with my good friend Kieran Harris and the wickers charity.
Moving onto fashion, who is your style icon and why?
Wiz Khalifa would have to be one of them. I like his sense of style, it’s that East London swag there ✌🏽Dalston. Summertime wear, that would be the one. A bit more on the designer casual/smart side would have to be Alexander McQueen. His style is very unique. I feel like if I wore one of those suits with a pair of trainers I would look like a swagga don but can’t afford it so Zara has had my back, shout out Zara, King Apparel and ASOS.
What’s your three favourite styles of Yeezy?
Yeezy Boost 350 and Nike Air Yeezy 2 are dope but the Nike Air Yeezy 2 Solar Red are the ones. They are a wish for me, I don’t think I could spend 4K on these. I don’t have a third option.
*Nike Air Yeezy Solar Red
If we would give you £1,000 to spend on theeditmanlondon.com what items would you buy?
Firstly can I have the £1000! Now if I have it, I would purchase the Supreme X Lacoste Harrington Jacket Khaki, the Supreme back logo sweater, plain white Air Force 1’s and whatever kids items I can find. Feel free to ask for bank details.
*Supreme x Lacoste Harrington Jacket Khaki
Lastly, and most importantly, will we be seeing you again in the next series of Top Boy due to come out later this year?
Unfortunately, I do not think so at this moment but as we all know the character Dris is missing, so who knows if he would appear in a wheelchair or on his feet in the future. We didn’t see Sully kill him so I’m guessing that leaves it open. The only thing I can do is pray I get my role back as Dris on Top Boy, even if it was another six year wait after next year.
Great interview!! Hopefully Dris will be back adds anticipation to the viewing 🤣