They told their story and emerged as stars : The film uses first-time actors to reflect the lives of young British women of color.

Bukky Bakray never thought acting was a real possibility for her. So she's struggling to get her head around winning a BAFTA - the British equivalent of an Oscar - for her first role.

''It's kind of unbelievable,'' Bakray, 19, said in video interview recently, searching for the words to describe her win for playing the titular character on the coming-of-age movie ''Rocks.'' I just didn't expect it all.''

At the awards ceremony held by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts on April 10, Bakray took home the Rising Star Award. She had also been nominated in the leading actress category alongside the likes of Frances McDormand for ''Nomadland'' and Wunmi Mosaku for ''His House.''

Bakray said, ''Sometimes when I look back at the pictures, I'm like, 'Did this actually happen?' ''

''I just feel really blessed,'' she added. ''Rocks'' - the most-nominated film at this year's BAFTAs - was released in Britain last fall to critical acclaim and is now streaming on Netflix in the United States.

The movie was shot in the summer of 2018, when Bakaray was 15, and a student at a school in East London. Like most of the rest of the cast, she was discovered through open auditions and workshops at schools and youth clubs in the city.

In the film, Bakray plays Olushola Joy Omotoso, known as Rocks, a 15-year-old British-Nigerian girl whose life is upended when her mother, who struggles with her mental health, disappears, leaving pnly an apology note and some cash.

Rocks is left to care for her 7-year-old brother Emmanuel [D' angelou Osei Kissiedu], doing whatever she can to evade an intervention by the social services.

''''Rocks'' is equal parts joyful and heart-rending : an ode to friendship and beauty of girlhood, but also a deeply affecting exploration of how external forces can threaten the blossoming of those things.

For many women who have been educated in the London public school system, the scenes in Rock's East London school will feel deeply familiar and authentic. The girls dance and make up raps, and treat each other with a mix of impertinence and genuine love and care.

In the school's bathroom, we see Rock's best friend Sumaya, played by the British-Somali actress Kosr Ali, talk her through using a tampon for the first time.

''Rocks'' is unusual even among Black British films, which are more likely to follow the narratives of young Black men.

For many British women of color, the opportunity to see their lives and experience reflected so accurately in film is extremely rare.

Tobi Oredein, the founder of Black Ballad, an online platform for Black British women, wrote last year, ''For the first time in my life, I saw a girl who looked similar to me and my friends as ran around secondary school trying to figure friendships, education and life at large.''

Three years after ''Rocks'' was filmed, members of the production team are still taking an active interest in the careers of the young actors they helped put onscreen.

Bakray, who spoke from Birmingham, England, where she was filming her next project, said she had to work through the end of the year. She said she planned to go to drama school and has auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

''I feel like kids are sponges,'' she said. ''And these guys caught me at my prime sponge phase.''

The World Students Society thanks author Desiree Ibekwe.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!