Wednesday 12 December 2018

Sir Lenny Henry: Slavery issue was like a big stone on my heart

The comedian visits Jamaica in Lenny Henry: The Commonwealth Kid, which airs on Monday.

Sir Lenny Henry (Ian West/PA)
Sir Lenny Henry (Ian West/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Comedian Sir Lenny Henry says he became emotional confronting the issue of slavery in a new documentary.

The funnyman visits Jamaica in Lenny Henry: The Commonwealth Kid, which airs on Monday.

He told Good Morning Britain that the issue was “like a big stone on my heart” as he visited a rum plantation, where 400 slaves once worked.

“To walk up this steps… to see where all these people used to work….. These are my ancestors,” he said.

“So to be in this place where this stuff used to happen is a shock. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.”

He also visited the land where his mother once lived in the BBC1 documentary, which investigates his own heritage and the relationship between the Commonwealth, the Caribbean and the UK.

“I expected there to be a house … I didn’t expect there to be a ruin,” he said.

“My mum used to walk miles and miles and miles with water and laundry.

“She was a subsistence farmer with my dad … and it was a punishing, gruelling existence.”

He said of the subject of the documentary: “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Commonwealth…. Let’s celebrate it.

“Also I’m a Knight Of The Realm… I was assaulted by an old lady with a sword!”

Press Association

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