The Pleasure Podcast
S4, Ep 7 Paapa Essiedu: Lads Mags, #MeToo and how men are moving on.
This week on The Pleasure Podcast we welcome actor Paapa Essiedu. He’s been named a BAFTA breakthrough Brit and won huge acclaim for his performance as the RSC’s first black Hamlet. In Michaela Coel’s series I May Destory you he plays the sex positive Kwame, a gay man whose assault is ignored by the Police – a beautifully nuanced performance. But Naomi will always think of him as the man she met at the RSC who in one memorable show played a singing seal as her understudy – a role she'll never let him forget.
Paapa grew up in east London, and was raised by his Ghanaian Christian mother, after his father left for Ghana. Her upbringing had a long-lasting impact which made him the man he is today.
We talk to Paapa about growing up in the 90s, poor and Black on a London estate and what happens if your only sex education is learnt from lads’ mags and fumbles behind the bike shed. We look at how lad culture can forge desires that don’t match up to the girl you fancy in Geography and the unlearning men must do to discover their own tastes.
Paapa tells us how sometimes not having your dad breathing down your neck can let you be free to be your own man and the privilege of emotional vulnerability when being strong and hard can act as a mode of survival. We touch on how Black men are pushed towards hyper sexualisation and how the #MeToo movement has impacted the conversations men are now having. How willing are they to engage with past behaviours?
If you would like to know more about groups that are supporting men and their role in society do check out the following organisations:
The Good Men Project: A website that examines what it means to be a good man in today's society.
Good Lad Initiative: specialising in helping men and boys to contribute to improving gender relations.
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Paapa Essiedu: @PaapaEssiedu
Naomi Sheldon: @NaomiSheldon1
Anand Patel: @therealdranand