Hollyoaks star on what he learned from show's unconscious bias episode

Amy West
·2-min read

Hollyoaks spoilers follow.

Hollyoaks star Richard Blackwood has opened up about the lessons he learned during the filming of the show's upcoming episode centred on unconscious bias.

The special, which is set to air this Wednesday (April 14), will see Martine Deveraux (Kéllé Bryan) and Grace Black (Tamara Wall) seek medical advice after each finding a lump in their breast.

Both women will subsequently visit the hospital to uncover whether or not their respective lumps could be cancerous, but wind up having wildly different experiences due to the stereotypes placed upon them by those they come into contact with.

Photo credit: Lime Pictures
Photo credit: Lime Pictures

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On a new instalment of the Channel 4 soap's Don't Filter Feelings podcast, Blackwood, who plays Martine's ex and Grace's current flame Felix Westwood, revealed that most of the microaggressions featured in the episode are ones he can relate to as a Black man, too.

That said, it shocked him to realise that he has unknowingly used some of the terms and phrases used by the individuals showcasing their unconscious bias towards Martine in the episode in real life.

"It's really weird because of all of those micros that were shown, I've been through, but in the previous ten years, it wasn't micro, it was just in your face. So it's nice that [writer] Karla [Marie Sweet] could teach me the new way that people are showing their racism.

Photo credit: Lime Pictures
Photo credit: Lime Pictures

"One of the things that did stand out to me was [that] I'm guilty of calling Black women 'strong Black queens' and I always use it as a term of endearment – because a strong part of me knows that struggles of a Black woman... vicariously, through my mum and sister and family," Blackwood continued.

"But when Kéllé's character says 'Why do I always have to be that character?'… when I watched it back, it made me go 'wow'. I've never stopped to think what that pressure might feel like.

Photo credit: Lime Pictures
Photo credit: Lime Pictures

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"Because what I am essentially saying is that you are not allowed to show vulnerability. You are not allowed to say a situation has hurt or troubled you because it doesn't adhere to being a strong Black woman.

"I never thought that, as a Black man, I was already contributing to the pressures that a Black woman, or woman of colour was having to face."

Hollyoaks airs its special episode on Wednesday, April 14 at 7pm on E4 and Thursday, April 15 at 6.30pm on Channel 4.

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