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NOC Interview: ‘Small Axe’ Star Kenyah Sandy Talks About His Lead Role

Legendary director Steve McQueen’s Small Axe is an anthology series comprised of five original films set from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s that tell personal stories from London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will despite rampant racism and discrimination. The title is derived from the African proverb, “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe.” 

Pictured: Kingsley Smith (Kenyah Sandy), Samantha (Brooke Haynes) Photographer: Will Robson-Scott

Newcomer Kenyah Sandy (Netflix’s Jingle Jangle) and Sharlene Whyte (We Hunt Together, Casualty), are both starring in the final film of McQueen’s Small Axe anthology series, Education, set to premiere this Friday, December 18. 

Pictured: (left to right) Joseph (Ryan Masher), Kingsley Smith (Kenyah Sandy, and Sajid (Jairaj Varsani) Source: BBC

Education is the coming-of-age story of 12-year-old Kingsley, a boy with a fascination for astronauts and rockets. When Kingsley is called to the Headmaster’s office for disruptive behavior in class, he is shocked to discover his transfer to a school for those with “special needs.” Distracted by having to work two jobs, his parents are unaware of what was an unofficial segregation policy at play, preventing many Black children from having the education they deserve, until a group of West Indian women take matters into their own hands.

Pictured: Kingsley Smith (Kenyah Sandy) in his home

I had the pleasure of speaking with the rising star about his role in the film, what the year has looked like for him and his hopes for his career in the future. You can find our conversation in full below.

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