Black Sheep tells the story of Cornelius Walker, whose life changed on 27 November 2000 - the day Damilola Taylor was killed. Damilola was 10, the same age as Cornelius. He lived five minutes away. He had the same skin colour. Cornelius’s mother, scared for her son’s safety, moved their family out of London. Cornelius suddenly found himself living on a white estate run by racists. But rather than fight them, Cornelius decided to become more like the people who hated him. They became his family and kept him safe. And in return, Cornelius became submerged in a culture of violence and hatred. But as the violence and racism against other black people continued, Cornelius struggled to marry his real identity with the one he had acquired. Directed by Ed Perkins.
Please note this film is most suitable for an audience of older young people, it deals with the harsh and often aggressive realities of racism. While all the Short Cut films are vital and appropriate for our young audience, some do contain upsetting subject matter, so please be mindful of the emotions these films can potentially trigger in young audiences.
A recorded interview with Cornelius Walker, who tells his story in Black Sheep, is available in the Masterclasses section of this website. This Q&A webinar was recorded in Oct 2020 as part of our Shortcut Teachers Conference. The conversation has been split into 5 bit size masterclasses for your classroom. Cornelius discusses in detail each stage of Black Sheep film production and use of the camera as tool of empowerment in highlighting the issues and traumas of racism.
The lessons explores minority voice and how the camera can be used as the tool of empowerment. Using the films' biographical story of recent history with film analysis, the lesson will open up the conversation about the difficulties in tackling the issues of race, unconscious bias and identity.
The students will use the film analysis worksheet to explore and identify the two filmic techniques used in Black Sheep. The cinematic language of Black Sheep develops the conversation of how minorities voice can be heard with the camera as a tool of empowerment.