Culture

Ricardo P Lloyd: 'I want to see the industry celebrate Black talent instead of pushing actors out'

Rather than wait until I am more established to speak out, I'm risking my own career to empower future generations, says the actor.

Ricardo P Lloyd. Image: Tamzin Morris

I am here to tell you about a new documentary that will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 which was created and presented by myself. It is called My Name is Ricardo P LLoyd.

In the documentary, I explore the themes of race and representation in UK theatre, television, and film. These are subjects people are often afraid to address but affect us all in some sort of way.

Since the death of George Floyd in 2020, there seems to be a push for change regarding the issues around diversity and inclusion, but has much really changed? What does change look like? Are things actually getting better?

I know the struggles I personally go through as a Black male British actor, so there was no better way for me to tell my own truth and shed light on the complex subjects around race and representation.

I am often seen as this rising British actor, but I still have a long way to go in my career. This documentary has allowed me to be transparent and quite vulnerable.

I examine my own journey, inspirations, and future aspirations. I also look at the struggles and structural barriers that many other Black creatives in the UK face today.

Listening to key voices was essential to my own understanding. Throughout the programme there are interviews with thought leaders and prominent figures in the media, including:

Dr Clive Nwonka, lecturer at UCL’s Institute of Advanced Studies; actor Tobi Bakare (Death in Paradise, Kingsman: The Golden Circle); Clint Dyer, deputy artistic director of the National Theatre; and one of my personal heroes, actor Aml Ameen (Yardie, I May Destroy You) and others.

Like I have said on record before, I have been very bold in speaking up on the issues of race and representation in the industry in the UK because I felt I had no choice but to address them.

Rather than wait until I am older and more established to speak out, I am risking my own career in the hope that it will inspire and empower future generations. There are many barriers I have personally faced, some known and some unknown.

I hope that this documentary will not only shed some light on the challenges that many people of colour have to deal with in the industry, but that those in positions of power will respond with real, tangible changes.

I want to see the industry celebrate Black talent instead of pushing actors out. Representation at all levels should be the goal, not just tokenism.

This is not just another documentary I want to be consumed and thrown away. But I really do hope it will spark change through conversation. I hope it will liberate and educate.

My Name Is Ricardo P Lloyd broadcasts on Monday 18 July at 11am on BBC Radio 4 and is available thereafter on BBC Sounds.

Ricardo P Lloyd is a British actor and presenter. You can follow him on twitter @RicardoPLloyd and Instagram: ricardoplloyd

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