Haseeb Iqbal with Ashley Walters14.02.21
Radio host, DJ and spoken word poet Haseeb Iqbal is back for his monthly show.
On this month’s show, Haseeb is joined by actor, rapper and songwriter Ashley Walters in for an in-depth two hour conversation.
Whether it is the energetic flow of Asher D in the prolific garage collective So Solid Crew, or playing the formiddable lead role of Dushane in the acclaimed Top Boy, Ashley’s talents stretch far and wide.
The pair speak about their shared experience of having attended Sylvia Young Theatre School and how Ashley’s Saturday mornning ballet classes coexisted alongside his South London upbringing and love of pirate radio. They trace how pirate radio served as an entry point for Ashley joining So Solid Crew and why the community aspect was hugely important for him, being an only child. They speak of So Solid’s transition into the maintream consciousness with 21 Seconds and how their stardom was met with becoming blacklisted by the UK’s media.
They talk of police cancelling their gigs in the early 2000s and reflect on the role of censorship in music, linking the Garage era with the current issues surrounding Drill. They make a link with Top Boy and explore why forms of black culture are perceived as glorifying violence in a way that other cultures aren’t.
Ashley reflects on the period where people were getting shot at their gigs and how their successes was tainted with threats and violence. He speaks of his period in jail as a teenager after being caught with a firearm in London, and how that was the catalyst for him deciding to focus on acting rather than music. He speaks of why he stopped using the N-word and decided to start empowering young people, building his Kingdom Drama School more recently.
They examine the importance of role models in eradicating youth violence and knife crime, as well as what he has learned from being a father of eight. Mapping the importance of his long-term collaborators Kano and Noel Clarke, Ashley also explores his recent directorial debut and what that has taught him as a new lens of storytelling. One of the busiest and most talented men about – tune in for two scintillating hours of conversation accompanied by music throughout.Listen now