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For Some, Top Boy After George Floyd Will Be “Gaze”

The debate around race in the United Kingdom has altered after the final season of Top Boy debuted on Netflix in 2019.

Shortly after the death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, the popular show is coming to the streaming video service.

However, police violence and hatred aren’t questions usually for Top Boy, which Drake executive produces.

The series is based on the realities of gang culture in the United Kingdom, drug distribution, and wealth inequality.

Dushane actor Ashley Walters says they’ve been engaging with things like these since the early part, but some audiences may find this season more challenging due to the current circumstances.

He tells Radio 1 Newsbeat, “I’ve always believed that police can be vigorous.”

“That was before George Floyd, but it will be a sight for those who don’t know the extent of how terrible it can be at times, and we don’t hold back from that.”

“We’re all about it. We’re not doing things for the sake of publicity or anything like that. It’s something that people are faced with.”

This year’s cast is just as strong as previous episodes. Kano, Michael Ward, and Little Simz are all back, as are sisters Jaq and Lauryn, played by Jasmine Jobson and Saffron Hocking.

Saffron believes that the show was going through a lot of these racial issues long before George Floyd ended up dead in police custody.

“Everyone’s eyes were widened by the Black Lives Matter protests,” she says. “However, I feel that Top Boy did display black people on TV before BLM, and it was exposed to show black people on TV, and we continue to do so.”

Top Boy has been questioned in the past for spreading stereotypes about black men, but Ashley answers that the show depicts a “particular slice of life,” not the entire Black British perspective.

He says, “I think there’s space for a lot of different shows to express a lot of different themes.”

“It is our job to fully describe the people whose tales we are telling.”

‘This season is educational’

Season four discusses issues such as homophobia, family violence, and deportation. Ashley considers this to be significant.

“We’re dealing with issues and difficulties that are widespread in our culture,” says the author. We aim to provide a forum for our viewers to engage.”

Saffron believes, claiming that the series is instructional.

“My character (Lauryn) is a victim of coercive control, gaslighting, and stalking,” she explains. And I sincerely hope that, due to Top Boy’s reach, it can reach a wider audience.

“Hopefully, males watching Lauryn can look at themselves and their own behaviour and realise to themselves, ‘That can’t be possible.'”

Actress Jasmine Jobson acknowledges the force to push authentic stories.

“We’re always under pressure from all sides, we’re not romanticising things,” she says. “It’s remarkably simple to fetishise this lifestyle and make others think it’s thrilling when it’s actually scary and dangerous.”

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