Racism in London is nothing new. From early KKK chapters establishing themselves in London to white supremacy groups in the 21st century, London has had its fair share of racial controversies. In 2016, it’ still the same.
“The Mountaintop” is a fictional reenactment of Dr. Martin Luther King ‘s last night alive. Actor EB Smith portrays MLK in the play, and was a victim to racial slurs here in the forrest city. According to Smith, he was called the n word twice; once at a bar and once while he was walking down the street. “It really showed me a different side of London. A darker one that I initially have experienced, but it was a good reminder that racism and bigotry are everywhere.”
It is an irony that is not missed by Smith, as he is playing one of the biggest civil right advocates while experiencing bigotry and racism himself. According to Smith, the incident doesn’t affect the way he is playing this role, but it does show that there are still things to be done.
When talking about race relations and racism, it is hard to not mention “Black Lives Matter.” The new civil right movement is one of the biggest forces and one of the biggest advocacy groups regarding racism.
“The usual rhetoric is that all lives matter and everybody should be recognized and that’s very true but the difference is that, as it stand right now, some lives matter more than others, and the Black Lives Matter movement does a lot to promote idea that we need to recognize under represented populations.”
Finally, according to Smith, the fact that social media makes it available for anyone to be part of the movement has its good and bad parts. “It’s a challenge on this day and age to harness a movement and make it cohesively effective. Once a movement is reduced to a hashtag(#BlackLivesMatter) anybody can pick up the mantle and has a lot of benefits cause it happen anywhere at any time and it goes viral. On the other hand, I think because of it, it’s not always a cohesive message.”
According to Smith, movements like this are important and very relevant, but there is still a lot of work to do by all sides to achieve the ultimate goal.