‘Dreaming Whilst Black’ is a British comedy-drama series that stars Adjani Salmon as Kwabena, a young Black man stuck in his dead-end recruitment job who dreams of making it big as a filmmaker with his video producer friend from film school Amy. Finding it hard to cope with pressures from his family who wish for a stable job for him and other harsh realities of life, he attempts to pursue his romantic ambitions when an opportunity too good to pass knocks on his door.
Created by Adjani Salmon, Max Evans, Natasha Jatania, and Laura Seixas, the comedy show features compelling and hilarious onscreen performances from a talented ensemble cast, comprising Adjani Salmon, Dani Moseley, Alexander Owen, Babirye Bukilwa, and Tom Stourton. Given the themes of pursuing a high ambition and going against one’s family, which are not unheard of in real life, many of the viewers might be wondering whether or not ‘Dreaming Whilst Black’ is based on reality or not. If you have the same question on your mind, let’s explore the same in detail, shall we?
Is Dreaming Whilst Black a True Story?
Yes, ‘Dreaming Whilst Black’ is loosely inspired by true events. The screenwriters of the show — Adjani Salmon, Max Evans, Natasha Jatania, Laura Seixas, Ali Hughes, and Yemi Oyefuwa — combined their experience in the industry and excellent writing skills along with their creative minds to bring the events they got inspired by to life. However, as claimed by one of the creators/screenwriters, Salmon, not a large portion of the show was autobiographical but some of the protagonist’s experiences shown in the show took inspiration from the experiences of Salmon and one of his friends.
During a conversation with Vice in late April 2021, Salmon further delved into the details of the show when he was asked if Kwabena’s experiences in the series were based on his own. He said, “Well I grew up in Jamaica, where racism is something they tell you about in school, and I’ll never forget coming (to London) to uni and all of a sudden I can’t get into a club that I want to. I just thought the bouncer was being a d–kh–d, right? Because where I come from the bouncers are Black and can be d–kh—s sometimes. So when my friend started saying he was being racist, for the first time, I’m like, wait a second. This is that thing that them man talk about! So this was like an awakening for me, you know when you see something you can’t unsee it.”
Apart from Salmon, one of the directors, Koby Adom was also able to find several connections between the events of the screenplay of ‘Dreaming Whilst Black’ and his life. In a September 2023 interview with Screen Rant, Adom was asked about the things from the series he could relate to. He stated, “Ever so much. It’s so real. Literally. I’ve done the corporate work where I get treated a certain type of way, and I’ve been in the industry.” He even mentioned that he had some monetary issues as well, which made it real for him, so much so that he could not believe that he was making this from a place of reflection. All of that was a surreal experience for him, in his own words.
Adom emphasized on how much the narrative draws parallels from reality, including the love story. He added, “How do you sustain love when you don’t have money because you’re chasing your dreams? If anything, that’s probably what I sink my teeth into the most. It’s kind of like, ‘How are you supposed to date in these circumstances?’ you know? So, doing that scene was good, with the friends.” Keeping in mind all the above-mentioned factors, it would be safe to reiterate that ‘Dreaming Whilst Black’ is loosely based on real-life events.
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