David Harewood’s new book, Maybe I Don’t Belong Here, is an auto-bigraophy that delves deeply into the Actor’s descent into psychosis and the stark examination of racism on mental health.
Identity has been an ongoing topic for discussion in David’s book, and a question he has often pondered throughout his life. “For me it’s still an ongoing question, because so much of my history is a traumatic one when it comes to that sense of belonging, particularly with the flag.” says David, referring to the Union Jack, which he has admitted is a symbol of near-constant struggle to keep the two halves of himself from coming apart.
He makes the striking comparison between himself and the younger Black British generation who have been more able to identify with the British flag, even regarding individuals like rapper Stormzy and racing driver Lewis Hamilton sporting the flag with envy – for him, it will always be a symbol of fear.
In a provoking and sobering confession, David recounted his first experience with racism in the UK when he was just a child and was approached by a man who told him to “Get the f*ck out of my country you little Black b*stard”. The encounter had a deep impact on David, who at the time had never challenged ideas of identity or belonging, but claims this was the moment he split in two between his Britishness and his new Black consciousness. “I remember that moment like it was yesterday, that split in my identity remains…Sometimes I feel like I’m splitting widely apart.” says David.
Even still, racism is a deeply ingrained subject in British society, as David details when he recently watched the UEFA European Championships at those footballers who took a knee in support for the Black Lives Matter movement. “Even that simple gesture is huge, it’s almost as if some crowds have accepted what the gesture is about, understand what the gesture is about, and support it. Whereas at the start of the tournament, boos were ringing out and it was hurtful.” says David, who continued to talk about how he was shocked that the Home Secretary’s called taking a knee a form of ‘gesture politics’.
For many Black Britons, their experiences with racism are internalised and often never spoken about. For David, the fear and anxiety he received from harassment in the forms of racial abuse in public was a direct cause for his later psychosis – a sensitive topic he explores in his book.
To support Byline TV and get access to tons of extra benefits including extended content and exclusive livestreams, become a member at https://patreon.com/bylinetv
Special Thanks to our top tier Patrons: (Directors Club) John Anderson, Susan Angoy, Andrew Cave, Stuart Clark, Catherine Cox, Nigel Davies, Alex Gullen, Stephanie Moss, Dave Nash, Mark Newton, Alicia Pivaro, Peter Qvortrup, Christine Riding, Daniel Shimmin, Valko Yotov, Bhags, Kath, Tim and William