Rizzle Kicks' Jordan Stephens discusses racial incidents which affected his mental health

Danny Thompson
·Contributor
·2 mins read
British actor Jordan Stephens poses on the red carpet on arrival for the BRIT Awards 2020 in London on February 18, 2020. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE  NO POSTERS  NO MERCHANDISE NO USE IN PUBLICATIONS DEVOTED TO ARTISTS (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Jordan Stephens atthe BRIT Awards 2020 in London on February 18, 2020. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Jordan Stephens of rap duo Rizzle Kicks has spoken about the racial incidents from his past which had a negative impact on his mental health.

The star opened up about being labelled a “black boyfriend” and dealing with racism in a recent interview, as he fronts new Channel 4 show The Whole Truth.

The programme sees the performer in discussion with other black British artists about mental health, music and systemic racism to mark World Mental Health Day.

Read more: Rizzle Kicks star Jordan Stephens issues mental health call amid lockdown

Talking to Metro.co.uk’s Sarah Deen, the 28-year-old spoke of needing to “purge some anger” when faced with “confusing” comments relating to race.

He said: “I was being called a ‘black boyfriend’ a lot - or was in situations with white girlfriends where it was like ‘You might not be able to see my Gran’ and I’m like ‘Is that because your Gran’s racist?’”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 26:  Jordan "Rizzle" Stephens and Harley "Sylvester" Alexander-Sule of Rizzle Kicks attends special dinner ahead of next month's awards at The Chocolate Factory on January 26, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
Jordan Stephens and Harley Alexander-Sule of Rizzle Kicks January 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

He added: “With Rizzle Kicks we’d get, ‘I don’t normally like rap music, but I like you guys’ which is incredibly confusing. Does that mean you don’t see me as a representative of black culture? Also because I’m mixed race, does that mean black culture sees us as too white?”

Discussing how such comments made him feel, he said: “I didn’t have a breakdown but I was f*****g fuming! I’d watch something or I’d read something and I was suddenly just angry.

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“I was tired of being defined by people who don’t get my lived experience. I also don’t place any value in external perceptions of who I am. I definitely didn’t need that, I needed to purge some anger for sure.”

The Whole Truth, which aired on Channel 4 on Friday (9 October) saw artists Arlo Parks, Che Lingo and Kojey Radical all make live performances and partake in a discussion with Stephens about music and mental health.

It is available to watch on Channel 4’s on demand service now.

Watch: Rizzle Kicks star Jordan Stephens on award for his drawing