- Film And TV
- 19 Nov 21
Ryan Lincoln shares his thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
actor and star of Kin
I came from the Irish hip hop scene, and there was an article a couple of years ago where it was kind of saying that African guys were legitimising Irish rap and Irish hip hop.
What’s that all about? I know that hip hop originated from the Black communities in America, but it’s gone way past that. It’s worldwide. It’s in Asia. It’s everywhere – South America, Europe, every continent. It’s disrespectful to the people that came before in Ireland, and also to Black people, to say it takes you to make it acceptable. To me, that was sounding more racist than complimentary. I don’t really think that helps anyone.
There’s a little bit of that mentality over here where we see the Black people as that kind of cool and hip thing, but we’re not just that. We’re not just a claim to fame. We’re not just here to look cool and hip and to legitimise things and make it seem accessible and all that.
We’re actually intelligent. I just think there’s a little bit of ignorance in terms of that.
I wish there was an overnight fix or that you could wave a magic wand and all the ills in society would be sorted, but it isn’t like that. We’ve just got to keep being honest and open and not being afraid to talk about it.
Sure, there is racism in Ireland, but I think it comes from a place of ignorance rather than something that’s systematic or conscious. Growing up, I thought there was probably more racism towards Polish and Eastern European people in Ireland than towards Black people. Especially in the 2000s when there were lots of Polish coming over, there was a very heavy anti-Eastern European sentiment. You know that whole thing of, “Oh, they’re taking our jobs!”
As an actor, I’ve noticed that there’s a limitation of movie roles. As a Black person, you’re typecast a little bit. It’s no fault of film companies or directors or writers or anything. That’s down to society. I just think there’s no Black Irish politicians – or whatever. So it’s a case of society catching up with being multicultural and all-inclusive. And that is happening. It’s a bit slower than maybe some other parts of the world, but it’s definitely happening a lot more organically.
Some of the schools – like the ones my nephews are in – make a point of being very religiously and culturally open. A huge part of it is getting in and educating the young people and children as they grow up, just knowing what world they’re stepping into rather than stumbling into it.
But we’re on the right track. Compared to other places, Ireland is definitely getting better.
Read Part 1 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism, in the current issue of Hot Press. Available to pick up in shops now, or to order online below:
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.
- Film And TV
- 10 Dec 18