Documentary screening of the ‘The Black Cop’ – all the intersections in a powerful short documentary


I had the pleasure to connect film industry specialist, Nadia Denton to our staff networks OUT@BMA and REACH@BMA to screen the short documentary ‘The Black Cop’ followed by Q&A with director, Cherish Oteka, for LGBT+ history month. The Black Cop, tells the story of Gamal Turawa, otherwise known as “G”, a former Metropolitan Police officer who admits to racially profiling and harassing Black people in the early days of his career. The film features as a guardian short documentary and just won the BAFTA for best British Short Film.

After we screened the movie in my office, attendees talked about how powerful and moving the documentary was. It looked at an intersection of topics such as fostering, racism, homophobia, mental health and belonging. We heard from the producer/director Cherish – as they reflected on building a friendship with the protagonist, ‘G’, to make the movie and how open G had been about his personal struggles in the police force. Cherish also provided perspective and tips about how to be inclusive in the workplace, as an ethnic minority, non-binary filmmaker – how important representation is to get stories like this out there. I personally marvelled about how a 26-minute documentary could have so much content, it left me questioning the impact of the labels we put on people, and the pervasive nature of stereotypes – how we limit people’s potential in the workplace.

Another key theme that struck me from the documentary, that we are also seeing in results from our surveys of doctors about discrimination in the workplace, is that of inadequate reporting and whistleblowing policies. Where people don’t feel they can report inappropriate behaviour because they don’t think anything will happen, or they do report it and nothing happens. This documentary, referred to incidents in the 90s (e.g. the Macpherson Report of institutional racism in 1999), and I inevitably made the link to the more recent issues with the MET with issues of misogyny, racism and homophobia. ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ – what does it take to tackle toxic workplace cultures. What part can we all play to create a workplace where everyone feels like they belong, are valued and can bring their whole selves to work?

We were lucky to have the director, Cherish to engage with us on the wider themes of the movie. Nadia and Cherish have asked us to continue the social impact of the movie by promoting wider engagement. So please if you haven’t already watch THE BLACK COP – free, open and accessible on youtube and the guardian website. Then:

  • Sharing a link to the film with 5 people that you think would benefit from seeing it
  • Sharing your comments with the Director Cherish @cherishoteka on Instagram and Twitter
  • Sharing your comments with the Social Impact Producer (Nadia) via email ⦁

Yesterday – The Black Cop won the BAFTA for best short film. Completely well-deserved. Well done to Cherish – who is an undeniable talent, the piece speaks for itself. I’m excited to see what they create in the future.

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