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Race and Class on the Council Estate: Top Boy Clip #1

by jheanelle brown

Race and class operate differently in the U.S. than in the U.K. Television (and film) in the UK offers a more multiracial view of the council estate. Poverty and its accompanying pathologies are still present and definitely racially-coded, but White people are folded into the environs not as anomalies, but as a constitutive minority. In this clip (Season 1. Episode 1), we are introduced to Ra’Nell’s best friend Gem. Gem respects and fears Dushane, and by extension, the way of life on the estate. Of the two boys, Gem is wayward and impressionable, whilst Ra’Nell is smart, stubborn, and resistant to becoming a drug dealer. Both boys live with a single parent (Ra’Nell lives with his mother and Gem lives with his father). As the series progresses, Gem becomes a runner for Dushane and his gang, while Ra’Nell helps Heather, a single White pregnant woman, grow marijuana in her apartment.

Race and Class on the Council Estate: Top Boy Clip #1

Ra'Nell and his best friend Gem meet top boy Dushane.

from Top Boy (2011)
Creator: Yann Demange; Ronan Bennett; Channel 4
Distributor: YouTube
Posted by jheanelle brown