How Shiro’s Story became a YouTube hit

One of the surprise successes of this year has become a hit, as Rapman dropped the third (and possibly final) instalment to his award-winning narration of “Shiro’s Story”. Picking up the Rated Award for Best Video earlier in September, the success of “Part 2” has seen Rapman and his team pull out all the stops to deliver a fitting end to the trilogy.

Opening out on a beach in Spain, the drama soon takes Shiro (played by rising star Joivan Wade) back to familiar surroundings with unfinished business and a few scores to settle. The twists and turns of “Part 3” play out over 20 minutes.

Assisted by cameos from such London rappers as Cadet, Headie One, Not3s and Ashley Walters, Shiro is played by Joivan Wade, now building a strong American CV with roles in The First Purge and forthcoming superhero film Cyborg.

Percelle Ascott, star of Netflix drama The Innocents, plays Kyle, the complex malcontent best friend of Shiro. Despite big shootouts and high production values, Ascott says they shot the series “guerrilla-style”, working 17-hour days, rewriting and improvising scenes on the fly, with actors holding the lights and “making sure someone is blocking a pedestrian pathway for two seconds to get a shot in. We couldn’t block off roads because we didn’t have the budget.”

The police showed a keen interest in this team of young black men. “They like to break up groups like that,” says Ascott. “That’s part of the pressure people in society don’t see, what we go through. We’re trying to do something positive – but we have to break up our group of young actors on set with us. And then it’s, ‘Oh, my son or daughter has seen you. Can I get a picture with you?’”

For Ascott, Shiro’s Story is a chance to humanise black Londoners who are so often demonised.

“If you read our story in a pitch, you’d think we’d be making this up. But this is a depiction of a reality that is out there – an environment where you have to survive.

They’re human beings who need care and sensitivity. A lot of these kids are dealing with trauma. It’s important for people to see that grief and emotion.”

TNT Entertainment

Photo Credit: realrapman

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