Gangland – Channel 5 Commentary

There’s been a lot of discussion about the Channel 5 Gangland ‘documentary’ that recently aired on our tel-lie-vision, and I wanted to share a few thoughts of my own!

I think shows like Gangland are dangerous on MANY LEVELS.

Should we be made aware of the challenges that affect some of our youth’s? Yes, to prevent it from happening and to find solutions! However, all this Channel 5 documentary has done is make many Black people angry and embarrassed and other people angry and fearful.

We as a community are always identified as a whole. So when you have a show like Gangland, it is a representation of our entire community. Is this what we’re about?

Imagine people who watch a show like Gangland who have never been to London and have no interaction with Black people – their only exposure is via the media!

As much as documentaries can be informing, I believe they are very potent and can lead to misunderstandings and ill-informed views!

The definition of a documentary is: “Using pictures or interviews with people involved in real events to provide a factual report on a particular subject.”

The ‘key term here is factual – facts represent truth! But when the facts are constructed, edited and used to reinforce a stereotype, it becomes inaccurate!

Whatever your viewpoint is – you can always find ways to reinforce and reflect it.
Look at the documentaries hosted by Ross Kemp; the places he visits are always portrayed in a terrifying way.

Yes, there are Black British gangs, gangs in London and drug dealers. However, why do they exist and what is happening to solve this? We certainly didn’t get these answers from the Channel 5 documentary.

I think that highlighting issues are important if the aim is to solve the problem. But I don’t believe this is why Gangland was commissioned. In my opinion, the whole objective of Gangland was to polarize and glamorize inner city violence within the Black community.

Gangland exposed the challenges faced by some young Black men, but in reality what people absorbed while watching, is that all young Black men are like this.

I don’t believe that Black people are loved, valued and respected generally, which explains why such a damaging show was made to air in the first place.

We should always view shows like this with an open and informed mind otherwise, we will are vulnerable to being programmed not educated!