‘Black and Blue’ Star Naomie Harris Talks Race and Policing

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Oct 24, 2019

British actress Naomie Harris, who co-stars in the new police thriller “Black and Blue,” is well-aware of what it means to contend with racism as a Black woman, and she said as much in a recent interview with NPR.

“Sadly, the American experience is not exclusive to America,” said Harris in the story, which was published on Wednesday (October 23). “We have the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK, and we have a breakdown of relations between the police and the Black community within the UK as well, and many unexplained deaths of Black people—perfectly healthy Black men in particular—that have been arrested and then ended up dead in police custody. All the issues you have in America—I think they're much more extreme here [in the U.S.], but we have them in the UK as well for sure.”

In the film, Harris’ character Alicia West is a police officer who works in a Black community in New Orleans, but who is also trained to think blue before ever thinking about being Black. Then the boys in blue turn on her. When West seeks help from someone in the neighborhood, played by Tyrese Gibson, the police turn on him, too. Harris said that beat in the script really struck a chord with her.  

“One of the moments that really stuck out in my mind was when [Tyrese's character] calls the police for help in the movie. And they come, and they actually handcuff him, and harass him,” Harris said. “And he was saying that that is an experience that he's seen happen many times before, and how frustrating, belittling, anger-inducing that is as a Black man who's called for help, and then actually ends up being treated as though they are the criminal.”

Ultimately, Harris hopes the film reminds viewers to keep fighting for justice. “There used to be a time where, when the Black Lives Matter movement first started, where people were out marching and outraged, and now I think people are like, ‘Ah, this is the way it is,’” Harris reflected. “And so the aim of this film is also to reignite dialogue and get people outraged again and hopefully get them active.”

Click here to read the full interview or listen here:

Watch the trailer, courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. The film debuts Thursday (October 24):