Dreaming Whilst Black launched in 2018 on YouTube since when it has enjoyed international success. Now developed as a brand-new one-off BBC Comedy Slice co-created, co-written by and starring Adjani Salmon was released on BBC Three on BBC iPlayer on Monday 19th April.
Loosely based on real life experiences.
The incident that inspired the storyline of Adjani Salmon’s pilot episode of Dreaming Whilst Black happened in an office where a colleague took a dislike to what Salmon was eating, while being purposely oblivious to the fact someone else was tucking into microwaved bowl of Brussels sprouts. “They didn’t ask me to leave but they pointed out my food is different,” he says over Zoom. “It’s that coded language of highlighting something, like going into work and someone asking if ‘you’re going into the meeting with your hair like that’.”
The kind of incident that Salmon, born in London but raised in Jamaica, has experienced on more than one occasion. In the series pilot, part of the BBC’s Comedy Slice series, Salmon plays filmmaker Kwabena who’s working in a mundane office job while trying to launch his film career. In one scene, he heats up his lunch in the office microwave and before sitting down to eat, an officious colleague asks him to eat hot food in the kitchen implying that others find the aroma offensive. Reluctantly he goes to the kitchen where he finds an Asian colleague, has been segregated there too.
Salmon, a film school graduate made a short in which he had faith but the struggle to get funding became impossible. So he decided to make an internet series instead of fighting to overcome the funding barriers. Salmon wanted a film to show the reality of London through the eyes of a character based on his real life experiences.
“Dreaming Whilst Black sits in this observational space,” Salmon says. “We present the story as a minefield where we show things which can be funny but might be racist, and we’re not going to tell you which is which. You’ve just got to laugh wherever you feel fit and ask yourself why.”
Adjani Salmon said: “After such a phenomenal response to the web series, where we found an audience who really connected to Kwabena’s journey, I’m happy we’ve made our show for TV. I’m excited to share this story with our earliest and new audiences alike.”