– It was as if I had died and saw my life wandering around in front of me. I visited the recording and was in tears. I remembered those days when I was on my own and didn’t know if I was a good fit or not. “But I felt so proud of what I had achieved,” says Alex Whittle.
From the orphanage to Brixton – to prison
The fourth film in the Small Ax anthology series depicts his youth, since his time in an orphanage, the bullying he has to endure in a white environment and the cultural conflict that occurs once he moves to Brixton where most people resemble him. Slowly, he became more and more relaxed, but the anger against the system and tensions between the police and the residents of Brixton escalated, finally culminating in the riots of 1981. This resulted in Whittle imprisonment from eight to nine months.
– At first I was so depressed, I didn’t want to live anymore. But my cellmate, Simon, gave me many reasons to continue. There, my educational journey began, Alex Whittle says.
An educational trip in prison
An older cellmate lent him books and taught him the history. Whittle read the volumes and became associated with black American writers James Baldwin, Chester Hymes, and Richard Wright.
– I was so hungry to read their stories and it made me think that I should write about my experiences and the ones I grew up with. They deserved a spot on paper like everyone else.
It is rarely seen in movie or TV
In 1999, Alex Whittle made his debut. Since then, there have been 15 books and many literary awards. But aside from that, his surroundings, the Caribbean minority, are now also depicted in the Little Axis, with a series of events taken from Britain’s history from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Events that are rarely filmed, neither on TV nor in the movie.
A lot of guys told me after watching the series that they didn’t know anything about what happened. Hope we get a young talent blossoming in the Black Diaspora to visualize their experiences. That would be a great legacy for me.