Ed Accura releases ‘A Film Called Black Can’t Swim’ to a global audience addressing the generational taboo in an effort to encourage more black people to learn how to swim.
Space DNA Productions has announced the release of the highly anticipated feature film documentary, ‘A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim’. The film tells the story of Ed Accura, a black British man who, after watching an upsetting news report about flooding, develops an acute phobia of water. The film aims to help eradicate the negative views associated with black people and swimming, encouraging more people in the community to learn to swim and reducing the number of deaths by drowning.
‘A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim’ has already had a huge impact in both the black and aquatic communities since the release of the pilot back in February 2019. But now the film is officially being launched as a feature, it is to be widely available and accessible to an audiences worldwide.
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Mysterex and produced by Ed Accura, it has sparked a wider community-led conversation, encouraging people to confront their fears, address stereotypes and dispel the myths that exist between the black community and water based activities. The pilot has been praised by the likes of film director and actor, Noel Clarke, DJ Semtex, actor Colin Salmon, former Jamaican Olympic swimmer Janelle Atkinson, Team USA’s Paralympic Swimmer Jamal Hill and many more.
In an interview for Swim England’s Love To Swim campaign, Accura said, “I spent the majority of my life hiding behind the stereotypes and the stigmas of being black and swimming, like black people having heavy bones. I used it as an excuse to avoid learning to swim. If anybody asked me if I could swim, I’d say ‘of course not, I’m black’.”
Having spent much of his life succumbing to such perceptions, he decided to use his experience to spark change. “‘A Film Called Blacks Can't Swim’ highlights some of the most popular reasons behind this very myth. Some of the reasons we hear include social issues, such as generational fear, lack of accessibility, aquaphobia, historic fear of drowning, hair and the one that keeps coming up, bone density.”
The release of the film reflects Sport England’s recent figures, which show that 95% of black adults and 80% of black children in England do not swim. Additional research also suggests that the risk of drowning is higher among ethnic minority communities.
Since the film’s pilot, additional scenes have been added to the feature looking the black youth perspective and hair. “What the pilot was missing was the viewpoint of the younger black generation and what swimming means to them,” Accura said. “We invited Hip-hop Grime artist Smokeyboy Sayso and Black Minds Matter project leader, Amina Gul, to share their views on the subject.” Accura also spoke to Danielle Obe, the founder and inventor of the waterproof hair product Nemes, about how hair is a barrier that stops many black people from wanting to go swimming.
The positive reaction of the pilot inspired Accura to start campaigning on the importance of swimming, water safety and drowning prevention, which eventually led to him co-founding the Black Swimming Association (BSA) - the first organisation of its kind that aims to highlight the importance of swimming as an essential life skill and prevent drowning in black and minority ethnic communities.
Ed Accura admits at first he struggled to ‘trust the water’ but continues to take swimming lessons, courtesy of Swimming Nature and it has proven to be a life-changing decision. He now continues to swim and hopes to one day compete in the London Serpentine Race.
“Swimming is an activity that brings joy every single day. The water can bring a host of physical and mental benefits and is also a vital life skill. We believe that everybody, everywhere should be able to safely experience the rewards swimming offers.
With that in mind, A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim is a really important piece of work and we hope it will not only help to dispel the myths and misconceptions often associated with swimming and the black community, but actively encourage more people into the pool”
Royal Life Saving Society This is a fantastic film that highlights real and important issues.
We believe learning to swim and staying safe in and around water is a basic life skill. The fact that this film has been made is a sad reflection on the failure of our society and we must all strive to do better.
Swimming is fun, keeps you healthy and is for everyone, so it is vital that this film has been made to tackle the misconceptions that sadly still exist.
Robert Gofton, CEO The Royal Lifesaving Society UK
‘When Ed first started talking about this film, it was clear that he had a new vision for this conversation. The topic of improving water proficiency among minority communities has been receiving more attention in recent years, and Ed's film is by far the most honest and credible telling of this story. He captures interviews that authentically handle the historic and cultural challenges that have stood between water safety and the black community.’
Braden Keith, Editor-In-Chief and Co-Founder of SwimSwam
NEMES waterproof scarves
A Film Called Blacks Can't Swim is the first feature film documentary of its kind to clearly highlight the unique yet significant barriers that preclude many black, mixed black and minority ethnics from participating in aquatics and the plethora of opportunities aquatics has to offer.
Danielle Obe, co-founder of the BSA and British Inventor of NEMES waterproof scarves.
British Olympian, Tessa Sanderson, CBE
‘Age is never a factor; you are never too old to learn to swim. EVERYONE should swim. It’s enjoyable, it’s a great, positive, way of thinking and it’s an all-round physical form of exercise. It could just save your life’.
Craig Lord, Swimming Writer for The Times and The Sunday Times:
‘This film ought to be shown in every school, perhaps as part of that promise to provide swimming lessons to every child in Britain. It is valuable to all children and parents, regardless of ethnicity and experience.
Swimming Teachers Association A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim is a thought-provoking film that cleverly portrays all the stereotypical myths that surround BME swimming as a result of historical community attitudes and /or lack of information and education. The film’s real-life narrative succeeds in dispelling these myths and positively shines a light on all the benefits and opportunities that participating in aquatics offers. STA wholly supports the mission of this film in order to help the Black Swimming Association achieve its aims of opening up more swimming opportunities for BAME communities.
Dave Candler CEO, Swimming Teachers Association (STA)
NOTES TO EDITORS:
‘A Film Called Blacks Can’t Swim’ will be distributed through independent US distributor, Indie Rights, and will be available globally through Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, PlayStation, Hulu and many other premium digital movie stores.