Clapham-raised musician and rapper Ed Accura is releasing his second film tackling the topic of why so many black people don’t swim.
Blacks Can’t Swim: The Sequel tells the fictional story of two South London teens who must face their fear of the water in order to complete a community program.
Layla, played by Amina Gul from Deptford, and K-Frost, played by Reginald Mudenda from Streatham, are put in touch with mentor Frank, played by Mr Accura, to help them on their swimming journey.
The film is interspersed with interviews with young people and adults about their experiences with swimming.
The movie comes after Mr Accura’s debut, a film called Blacks Can’t Swim, which was released in 2019.
Mr Accura said: “One thing I noticed was missing from the first film was the voice of the younger generation.
“I needed something that pre-dominantly would amplify the voice of the younger generation.”
Mr Accura started thinking about the issue of why so many black people can’t swim while he was on a boat trip on a holiday in Barbados.
Unable to join in with snorkelling or diving because he couldn’t swim, he wrote the first few lines of a song called A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim, which later led him to make the film himself.
Growing up with parents from Ghana, swimming was not considered important in Mr Accura’s childhood.
When he asked whether he could have swimming lessons in order to attend a childmates pool party, his mother refused.
Mr Accura said: “She was like swimming is not important – studying is important. Mathematics and English, that’s where your priority lies, not swimming. So I didn’t go to the party and I never learned how to swim.”
As an adult, he became more aware of the myths and stereotypes around black people and swimming – including the idea that black people can’t swim because they have heavy bones.
He said: “I was like I’ll use that as an excuse if somebody asks me to swim, perfect. I’ll say I can’t swim – I’m black.”
Mr Accura got in the pool for the very first time at the end of the first Blacks Can’t Swim movie and has since co-founded the Black Swimming Association to encourage other black people to do the same.
One of the goals of the non-profit organisation is to promote water safety and lifesaving.
But Mr Accura said it’s about more than safety – it’s about fun.
He said: “The whole swim sector has been telling people to swim because of water safety, it’s good for your health, it’s good for your mental health, for your wellbeing. But the most important thing has not been voiced out and that’s the fun part of it.
“So if you’re telling people about the water safety part of it, that’s not going to be enough to get people to get involved, there has to be something else – and that’s the fun element.”
Blacks Can’t Swim: The Sequel is out on May 10 on all major digital download platforms. The trailer is available to watch here.
Main pic: A scene from Blacks Can’t Swim: The Sequel
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