Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Farming (The Journey of fostered Nigerian boy) Farming (The Journey of fostered Nigerian boy)
Farming (The Journey of fostered Nigerian boy)

Based on his own life story, writer and director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s FARMING charts the extraordinary journey of a young fostered Nigerian boy who, struggling to find an identity, falls in with a skinhead gang in 1980’s England.



At six weeks old, Enitan (Zephan Amissah) is left in the care of a white working-class family in the dock-town of Tilbury, in Essex. His new surrogate mother, Ingrid (Kate Beckinsale), makes for a complex, but dubious foster parent.


Unsure of his place in the world, and lacking a mother’s love, desperate to belong the teenage Enitan (Damson Idris) spirals into self-destruction, falling in with a local skinhead gang led by Levi (John Dagleish).



When all seems lost, a sympathetic teacher, Miss Dapo (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), offers him one last shot at redemption. Told with brutal honesty, FARMING is an unflinching autobiographical portrait of a young man who must battle the odds and realise that, in a world of hate, his toughest battle will be learning to love himself.




“In 1967, when I was six weeks old, my Nigerian parents left me in the care of an impoverished gypsy family in the south east of England in the slum docking town of Tilbury in Essex. My Nigerian father was studying law less than an hour away, but I wasn’t to see my parents again until I was eight-years-old.



It was important for me to share my experience as a black child growing up in Britain through this extraordinary phenomenon known as ‘farming’ – the practice that Nigerian Immigrants would carry out in order to survive and build their lives, by having their newly-borns fostered out to white working-class families. We were in effect the first black British generation of immigrant children to be born on British soil.



Skinheads first emerged in the working-class neighbourhoods of London. Despite the fact that Skinheads would later be linked to neo-Nazi groups and fascists, their origins were more inclusive. Much like the newly established immigrant communities, Skinheads belonged to a disenfranchised section of society, often living alongside Afro-Caribbean communities, which exposed them to reggae and ska music. This led to a cultural exchange that is still in the DNA of Skinhead culture, even though most modern far-right Skinheads in the US and UK would reject this notion.



By the 1970s things changed as Skinheads became synonymous with extreme nationalist, racist, and anti-immigration attitudes. Akinnuoye-Agbaje recalls: “Living in Tilbury at that time, as a young African boy, was a harrowing experience and one which rendered me the permanent target of racist attacks.”


Film is due for release October 2019.

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