Guildhall, a top acting school in the UK, has officially apologized to Paapa Essiedu and Michaela Coel for the “appalling and unacceptable” racism they experienced while studying there.
The actors who starred together in Coel’s groundbreaking drama i can destroy youhave spoken out multiple times about the racism they faced at the school a decade ago.
In 2020, Essiedu narrated The Independent about a makeup class where a white teacher didn’t know how to paint bruises dark enough to appear on black skin, and an incident where a teacher called him the N-word during an impromptu exercise.
“We all played prisoners and she was the officer,” he said. “She called out the N-word and as the only two black people in the group, Michaela and I looked at each other in horror.
“It was under the guise of ‘Oh, it’s an improvisation, I was in the role.’ But she wasn’t even in the play, you know, so… this school definitely wasn’t a safe place for blacks and browns.”
Essiedu spoke about the same incident in a new interview with The guard, and now Guildhall has apologized in a statement, which reads: “The Guildhall School apologizes unreservedly for the racism experienced by Paapa Essiedu, Michaela Coel and other alumni while studying at the school. The experiences he shares have been appalling and unacceptable.”
It continued, “We have since implemented a sustained program of action to address and dismantle long-standing systemic racism within the program of action, including the commissioning of an external report on historical racism and a comprehensive and ongoing process of staff training and reflection.”
Coel referenced the same incident during her August 2018 MacTaggart speech.
London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama was voted the number one UK conservatory for 2021 Guardian Rankings for music and sixth performing arts university in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2020.
Essiedu, whose other credits include The Miniaturist, Kiri, Press and gangs of london, is next seen in the Sky series The Lazarus Project.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/paapa-essiedu-guildhall-racism-b2098444.html The Guildhall drama school apologizes to Paapa Essiedu and Michaela Coel for ‘appalling’ racism