In the wake of the final season release of “Top Boy” on Netflix, actor Ashley Walters, known for his role as Dushane in the series, shared his perspective on the importance of authentic representation in storytelling. Walters, 41, addressed the fact that “Top Boy” was developed by white screenwriter Ronan Bennett.
During an interview with The Times, Walters emphasized the significance of having black creatives tell black people’s stories. He candidly expressed his view, stating, “Let me be frank. It would have been ideal for black people’s stories to have been told by a black person.” However, he acknowledged that what mattered most was the consultation process and the input from people who could provide an authentic perspective.
Walters also reflected on his personal journey, including his past incarceration. In 2002, at the age of 19, Walters was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison after being found with a loaded gun in his car. He highlighted how his arrest, despite being a challenging experience, ultimately led to his involvement in “Top Boy.” He noted that he could now use his story to help others avoid making similar mistakes.
The actor’s life took a turn after his prison release, and he faced struggles with depression. He turned to excessive drinking as a means of coping, unable to express his feelings openly. It was only after a particularly low point, where he woke up on a London bus after a blackout, that he realized he needed help.
Ashley Walters opened up about how his wife, Danielle Isaie, played a crucial role in his recovery. He acknowledged that his depression had taken a toll on his relationships with loved ones, but he eventually sought assistance.
“Top Boy” fans have recently celebrated the powerful conclusion of the series, which explores the lives of drug dealers in London’s Summerhouse estate. The show, revived by Netflix in 2018 with support from rapper Drake, gained a devoted following and explored the challenges faced by marginalized communities.
As “Top Boy” wraps up, Walters’ call for authentic representation in storytelling remains a relevant topic in the entertainment industry, emphasizing the importance of diverse voices and perspectives in shaping narratives.