Black Voices In Conversation: Playwright Olu Rowe on growing up in a white family

Black Voices In Conversation is a new series of interviews by ITV News to mark Black History Month.

We’ve spoken to groundbreaking individuals from the black community to learn about their life experiences and to hear their vision for the future. 

ITV’s Nia Mason sat down with playwright, musician and Black History Month south organiser, Olu Rowe, to talk about how he was adopted and raised by a white family.

Olu was raised in the 1970's, adopted by a white couple in Portsmouth. He grew up always singing and dancing and was encouraged to sing even outside the house by friends.

"I was the only black child in the school and I remember coming onto the stage, and slightly freezing. Then I giggled and started playing and I just noticed the power of the audience engaging with me.

"I hadn’t discovered the real world until I was about 11" said Olu.

In 1976 Olu was sitting on a pavement when two white men drove a van at him deliberately. Olu's described that as the moment his view of the world changed.

Olu went onto become a successful performer, singing and playing in bars and clubs. He then wrote the play "Keep on Moving" based on his experiences and upbringing; the play begins on the moment he was almost run over.

Now Olu works alongside others on Southampton's Black History Month events.

Read more about Olu's story here: