My parents are very hard working people who did everything they could for their children. I have two brothers and they worked dog hard to give us an education and provide us with the most comfortable life possible. My dad provided for his family daily. So, yes, that is definitely in my DNA.
I was sometimes called 'coconut' when I was at school.
I have a bee in my bonnet as to how few black historical figures one sees on film; incredible stories, stories from which we are living the legacy and which just don't get made.
Because I was aspirational, I did my work, I was respectful to my teachers, I experienced a lot of bullying from the black kids. My friends were largely white or Asian.
I am a father, I am very aware of the things that I'm putting out in the world knowing that one day my children will watch the work that I've done. I want to be able to stand by it.
In my time since moving to the United States, I've found that there is a dearth of great writing for black people. There are stories that depict us in a way that isn't cliched or niche, and that a white person, a Chinese person, an Indian person can watch and relate to. Those are the stories I want to be a part of telling.
I know I had my equivalents in Adrian Lester and Lenny James when I was at drama school. I remember David Harewood doing 'Othello' at the National, and Adrian Lester having done Cheek by Jowl's famous 'As You Like It and Company' at the Donmar. Not necessarily performances I saw, but just the fact they happened was massively encouraging.