Black Sheep – Oscar Short Documentary Nominee

Black Sheep is an Oscar short documentary nominee about Cornelius Walker, whose life changed after the death of Damilola Taylor. Via the Guardian:

Growing up on an estate in Camberwell, south London, in the late-90s, I was raised around different cultures. My mum is Nigerian, my dad half-Sierra Leonean. But my last name is Walker and so, even as a child, I felt different – a bit left out when it came to the Nigerians: in jest, they’d say, “Oh, your last name’s Walker, that means you’ll be able to get a job.”

I was always a quiet kid, sensitive; more so than my two younger brothers. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was somehow unwanted. My mum would make fun of me because I was chubby and family members would call me ugly. They weren’t serious, but it hurt. One time, my mum and aunties got me to try on clothes in front of them – they didn’t fit and they all laughed. That messed up how I saw myself. I still have bad posture because I used to walk with my head down low.

When I started secondary school in Peckham, there were Latinos, Asians, Nigerians, Caribbeans, Eritreans, Somalians and, obviously, white kids, too. It was so diverse that I honestly didn’t even know what racism was. I thought it existed only in the United States. But everything changed in 2000, on the day of Damilola Taylor’s death.

I can still remember walking home after playing football with friends, going to get chicken and chips on the way. All I could see was the blue lights flashing. As I got closer, I could see police tape across the street. I looked at one policeman and he told me: “A kid died.” I took the long way home, got in and saw my mum on the floor, crying. In my head I was thinking, “Mum, we didn’t even know this person.”

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