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.
We can't afford to deny our past in a bid to be empowered. But what we can do is contextualize the past.
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.
A film centered around the Second World War with a predominantly white cast would not have the pressure on it that 'Red Tails' has.
Considering that I'm British and I talk the way I do, I love it when a director takes a chance on me.
I consider myself a human being, a Christian, a father, a husband, so many things, before being a black person.
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.