Posted 20 hours ago

Maybe I Don't Belong Here: A Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery

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Black and British was longlisted for the Orwell Prize, shortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak Prize and won the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize. Taking into account your kind of experience growing up not seeing someone like you in entertainment, does the idea that young boys, young girls might see you on screen and not feel a question of can I belong here? There is clear need for education in the public sector institutions to avoid mental health issues in the very people who chose to care.

see a picture of a black person that they may recognise from the television, they will enquire as to why his picture is there, and then they'll understand… all of the unpaid work that my ancestors did, and the brutality of what they suffered… helped build this house. Last month I got to sit down with the wonderful David Harewood to discuss his book Maybe I Don't Belong Here: A Memoir of Race, Identity, Breakdown and Recovery, which is out in paperback form tomorrow (October 13th). This memoir portrayed a very unique and emotional story that will likely stick with me for a long time to come. Psychosis and Me, a documentary hosted and produced by Harewood received a BAFTA Television Award nominated for Single Documentary.But without a doubt I think gaining success there and being recognised there greatly benefited my mental health, my confidence, my art, and my outlook on life. This is a superb memoir, an honest and moving story of a life along with exploration of issues of race, identity and Harewood’s experience of mental illness and psychosis.

In particular, Harewood came to understand the extent to which his psychosis and treatment were rooted in race, racism, and his sense of identity.And I resonate with a detailed assessment of new surroundings each time he found himself in a hotel. Descriptions of his mental ill health are raw and powerful and the institutionalised racism affecting his career, life and medical care are truly disturbing. The book was triggered after the Psychosis and Me documentary that came out a couple of years ago but it was a far less challenging read than the one I had coupled it with, My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay.

And I think that speaks to just how much mental pressure there is on most black people everyday, sometimes without us even knowing. You mention in the book that because of your experiences growing up, the sight of the Union Jack still gets your back up a bit, still puts you on edge.You know one has to respect Elizabeth and respect her time on the throne and respect what she's done to the institution. Born in 1965 to parents who’d arrived in Birmingham from Barbados, Harewood, like his father (who was also sectioned), found that the assimilation process led to deep emotional conflict and placed a big strain on his mental health. Or by any white person in the UK wanting an honest perspective of how UK racism can impact non White people living in the UK despite being born there. He appeared in the BBC film adaptation of the Philip Pullman novels The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, both of which are titles from the Sally Lockhart Mysteries.

Do you think we can address the statistics talked about in your book about Black oversaturation in the mental health system, if we don't address the legacy of - not just Monarchy because Parliament has had more power since around 1650 - but Britain and it's politics and it's history? In September 2023, a portrait of Harewood, commissioned by Lascelles, was put on display at Harewood House as an acknowledgement of their families' connected history. I'd originally believed Harewood to be American from the roles I'd seen him play in some excellent TV (I didn't know previously of his extensive theatre repertoire). Thank you, David, for giving us this book - the black men and women, those hoping to be white allies, those who just happened across it.David deconstructs his own identity and history and, doing so, sheds a light into what it means to be black in Britain and how racism impacted his development and his mental health. The reason the book isn’t as heavier read as I thought is there are so many lighter and funny moments. It also delves right into the gritty prejudice that so many un-oppressed groups find it uncomfortable to acknowledge and confront, which I think is super important.

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