“Top Boy” Actor Ashley Walters Says He “Scrutinized” The Series’ Writer Because “Black Stories Should Be Told By Black People”

Ashley Walters

“Top Boy” Actor Ashley Walters Says He “Scrutinized” The Series’ Writer Because “Black Stories Should Be Told By Black People”

TV Star Ashley Walters recently shared his opinions on making art centered around the lives of Black People.

The “Top Boy” actor stated Black creatives should be the ones who tell their stories, after working with a white male writer on the project for years.

Ashley Walters

Reportedly, Ashley Walters, 41, spoke about the matter during a recent promotional interview for the Netflix series final season. Explaining why he thoroughly vetted “Top Boy’s” 67-year-old white male screen writer Ronan Bennett, Walters stated:

“Let me be frank. It would have been ideal for black people’s stories to have been told by a black person.”


“‘So I did scrutinize Ronan. But understanding the people he consulted for the script was key.”

The breakout star went on to share how his own personal prison experience readied him for the role. Reportedly, Walters was incarcerated at the age of 19 on gun possession charges and was sentenced to a little over a year behind bars. Upon coming out, the entertainer says he fell into a depression as he was unsure what to do with his life as things continued to move on without him. He explained:

“When I was released from prison, I didn’t want to leave my house for the first three months.  I stayed inside and at the time I just felt like I didn’t face people…I didn’t want to talk about what had happened and I just felt like I had a lot of catching up to do,  because when you’re in that scenario – your world stays the same and everybody else’s world keeps on moving. You feel behind, you feel left out, you feel lonely.”

Walters continued, telling the story of how blacking out on a subway and being robbed forced him to get help, which in turn changed his life. He stated:

“Alcohol became a vice and something I leaned on…One day I went out with some friends…Cut to the next morning at 7 o’clock I was on a bus and the conductor woke me up and was like mate I can’t let you go around anymore. I think I’d been robbed, my wallet my phone was gone and I didn’t have my shoes and I didn’t know how I got there or what had happened. I walked home and when I got back my mum had called her and we sat and she held me and she said ‘You need to get some help.’”

Concluding, the entertainer says the series of events allowed him to decide he wanted more from his life. Eventually, he decided to pursue a career in acting and landed a starring role on one of Netflix’s top European crime drama’s. In case you’re unfamiliar, “Top Boy” follows the world of major drug lords in London, set on the fictional estate of Summerhouse. The shows main players, a crime leader named Dushane, played Walters, and Sully, played by Kano, go head to head building rival empires in attempt to take ultimate power in the drug lord game.

Reportedly, the show originally aired in 2011 and was green lit for two seasons before getting axed. However, rap star Drake reportedly showed interest in the series and came on as one of its executive producers, giving it a new life on Netflix in 2018. It’s fifth and final season was released last Thursday, and is available on the streaming platform now.


Do you agree with Ashley’s opinions on Black stories? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below! 

Authored by: Kay Johnson