will.i.am’s The Blackprint is set to air on ITV later this month, with the American rapper travelling across the UK – which he considers his second home – to learn about Black Britain.
The documentary will also see will.i.am compare the lived experiences of Black people in the UK with those across the pond. Ahead of its release, The Voice UK judge spoke to Safraz Manzoor on the Radio Times Podcast about the risks involved in such a premise.
- The Radio Times podcast: broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor interviews will.i.am about upcoming ITV documentary will.i.am: the Blackprint – listen now
At the beginning of the documentary, the rapper says: “Blacks who don’t bring up Black subjects are good Blacks to whites.”
When asked whether he thought there was a risk when talking about these hard-hitting subjects, he told Manzoor: “Yeah. There is [a risk]. And this is a touchy subject, to bring up race and transatlantic slave trade and the UK’s involvement in that.”
He added: “Yes, there is a risk, if you see it as a risk, but I had to bring it up. But yeah, it’s a risk worth taking to bring it up and make people aware in a very respectful way and bring solutions at the same time right? I’m not bringing it up for bringing-it-up’s sake.”
The documentary sees will.i.am, who grew up in a housing project in LA, across the country, touch on recent events like the Black Lives Matters protests in London, but also speak to figures of the British civil rights movement and visit historic locations.
“I really want[ed] to know what life was like for inner-city London kids that were like me,” he explained. “I wanted to put a name and a face to the folks who fought for civil rights in the UK. And I wanted to see the similarities between Black Americans and Black Brits and imagine what my life would have been like if I was a Black Brit.”
Listen to the Radio Times Podcast for the complete interview with will.i.am. Produced by Somethin’ Else, The Radio Times Podcast hosted by Jane Garvey is available every Wednesday on radiotimes.com/podcasts, and via all major podcast providers.