entertainment

Stephen K Amos talks race and sexuality in the world of comedy in new 'Attitude Heroes' podcast

2017-04-23
Stephen K Amos is one of the most recognisable stand-up comedians in the country. From appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe to television work including Have I Got News For You and Mock The Week, Stephen has become one of the most successful openly gay comedians to come out of the UK. In episode 4 of the 'Attitude Heroes' podcast' - available to listen to and download now - Attitude's editor-in-chief Matt talks to Stephen about growing up in a Nigerian family in the 1980s, coming out as gay in the straight world of stand-up, and performing in countries known for being anti-gay. Stephen also opens up about challenging prejudice in his work, the racism he’s experienced in the gay community, some of the most commonly-held stereotypes about black men, and his love of camp '80s soap Dynasty. Revealing that he never officially came out to his parents, Stephen says he "just never felt the need to go and sit them down and say, 'By the way, I’m gay.'" "It’s easier for me to challenge people’s perceptions than it is to confront my parents," he explains. Discussing the difficulty in being a black man and coming out as gay, he says: "It's not easy, and I completely understand this whole 'down-low' thing and hiding who you are, because in many, many cases it's easier. Because the other option is you'll be disowned by your family." Stephen says that when he was at school, he had friend's who considered homosexuality to be "a white man's disease." He urges gay black men to be open about who they are: "Living a lie is the worst thing you can do. Because constantly looking over your shoulder is not healthy for anyone." Listen to the full interview with Stephen K Amos in episode four of ‘Attitude Heroes’ – available to download free from iTunes or other podcast platforms now. Attitude Heroes is produced by Wisebuddah and sponsored by the GREAT Britain campaign, which welcomes the world to visit, do business, invest and study in the UK.