Ade is an English Actor known for Hollyoaks straight after graduating from the Brit school he landed his first and only role as DeMarcus Westwood in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks playing the son of Richard Blackwood who plays (Felix). Recently DeMarcus has found himself in trouble which involves a knife crime storyline. ALT caught up with Ade for a quick chat.
What was it like joining Hollyoaks in the middle of a really big storyline also knowing that Richard Blackwood was going to play your father?
I felt really privileged to come in at the time I did. I was lucky to join in The Black to Front Project episode, which of course was a predominantly a Black episode. There were good vibes from the start, I think I definitely got it easy in terms of just comfortability and really just getting used to the craft because I mean, this was my first job coming out of school.
I was a bit nervous starting somewhere new, I’d never been to Liverpool, up North. It was so different for me, but a lot of the people I made friends with and got close to were those people on the episode, who were all from London and out of coincidence all black. So we could relate on a lot of things.
Shooting that first episode felt more like a team building exercise, if anything, it really wasn’t work. And so the word I can really say is just privileged and, very, very fortunate.
And I think what’s important is, is how he deals with being a young black boy in a village where there is hardly anyone, if anyone, who looks like him, especially his age. In this day and age, a black man with a knife, there’s only one answer. There’s only one place you go.
Knife crime is normally associated with Black men and a London thing yet it’s very much a UK wide issue, how important are these stories are in terms of breaking down stereotypes?
I feel like it is exposure. It is being able to see these stories play out right in front of you, because there are lot of people who don’t live on the block. There are a lot of people who live very, very far away from things that are happening. So they can’t see it with their own eyes, but watching a show like Hollyoaks, where it’s visual, where they can see people like me in these sort of scenarios, they can then begin to empathize. They can then begin to understand. And I feel like that’s the first step to making change. If we all see what’s going on, we can then stand up. But if there’s only one or two of us who knows what’s going on, there’s not really much we can do.
What do you bring to your character as Demarcus and how much do you resonate with him?
I definitely think me and DeMarcus are very similar, we’ve sort of grown up in quite a similar way. I think our attitudes are very similar and so I think I just bring a sense of authenticity, if I can say that. Just growing up where I grew up and sort of living how I lived, I’m very similar to him in that way. Just highlighting people like me and stories like mine, I feel like that’s what’s most important.
And what does it feel like to be part of the Hollyoaks family?
It’s amazing, honestly, and I think I say that mainly because it’s a family on and offscreen, like these are people I am going to know and love for the rest of my life and that’s invaluable. So yeah, truly amazing.