British | Jamaican

Johnathan Ried.jpg

In the past few years, speaking with a lot of friends who are mixed race, i’ve realised that a lot of things in my life have slipped into place. Condescending comments when I was younger, you know, “you’ve done really well for yourself”, things like that which I understand are well meaning but you know where it comes from. When I started doing general meetings as a director (I have a really white sounding name), I used to turn up at meetings and I could see the look of surprise. Oh, it’s you, kind of thing.

The place that I really feel at home now, which is really weird, is America. Yes, our chances of experiencing harsher racism are actually higher there but I feel much more welcome. Everyone in America thinks that I’m English, there's no question about that. I like that. I like that they are accepting me for who I am. Even then I think that the idea of being a nationality is an interesting social construct and I don’t think it necessary helps.

The Brexit referendum is the first thing (and what has resulted in all this soul searching) where overnight you were suddenly more aware of what you look like.I hate feeling this way post-referendum because it should have nothing to do with the colour of your skin.

When I was at school I used to act all the time. But I chose to become a director because it was a much easier decision. I was never going to get to be Luke Skywalker and do what I wanted to do. Now you can do this stuff. You can see a black guy holding a lightsaber and he didn’t steal it in the script or anything. It is his! I think that’s important. That is how you change minority representation, you’ve got to normalise it. There are a bunch of people that are offended and scared by it because they think it’s not normal but it is absolutely normal.