Brinsley Forde finally sees Babylon


Brinsley Forde finally sees Babylon

Observer writer

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

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AFTER a 40-year wait, Brinsley Forde recently attended the premiere of the film, Babylon, in which he plays the lead role. The event took place at Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.

Forde feels the issues of racism and immigrant stereotyping depicted in the movie are still hot-button topics.

“The movie was made 40 years ago. And, at the time, it was too dangerous to show. Even though things have changed in the UK, law enforcement officers still have the same perception of black people, where they will act on their fear. Recently, there was a referendum of England and people voted in favour of immigration and not dealing with racial issues,” the 65-year-old told the Jamaica Observer.

Forde, a founding member of British reggae band Aswad, is currently in Jamaica.

In Babylon, he plays Blue, whose Ital Lion sound system dominates the South London reggae scene. He works as a garage hand with friend Ronnie (Karl Howman), the only white person in his circle of friends.

The story follows Blue as he loses his job, gets beaten by police, is falsely charged and forced to go on the run.

Babylon is directed by Franco Rosso and co-stars Trevor Laird, Brian Bovell and Mel Smith.

Forde hopes the movie will be shown internationally.

“My hopes are that the movie will get the option to be shown around the world so that people can get an opportunity to see life in England,” he said, adding that a Jamaica premiere depends on the film's reception in the States.

“If it does well in America, they will get a licence for Jamaica to show it here. David Haynes (co-actor) and myself tell the UK story, that really explains life,” he said.

The movie is also being shown in Los Angeles at the Langley Theatre and in Pennsylvania.

This is not Forde's first film role.

“I was very fortunate to be featured in children's films (such as) Here Comes the Double Decker (1970-71) and Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and also 20th Century Fox movies. It's been really good in the industry that's difficult to make a mark in,” he explained.

Forde was born in London to Guyanese parents. He found fame later with Aswad which released a series of hard-hitting songs that railed at racism against British minorities.

He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2015 at Buckingham Palace.

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