Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood Sony Hack Reveals the Insufferable Whiteness of Hollywood '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! '106 & PARK' Says Goodbye Today, Dec 19 at 6pm, w/ Live, 2-hour, Star-Studded Finale! First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic First Image of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in Upcoming HBO Biopic Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go Review: Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Took Me Places I Wouldn't Expect a Chris Rock Film to Go The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal The Gift That Keeps on Giving - Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington's Overseas Box Office Appeal Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Backlash Against New VH1 Series 'Sorority Sisters' Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Tessa Thompson Books Female Lead Role in Ryan Coogler's 'Creed' Opposite Michael B. Jordan Samuel L. Jackson Has His Own Challenge for Other Celebrites in Reaction to "Racist Police" (Watch) Samuel L. Jackson Has His Own Challenge for Other Celebrites in Reaction to "Racist Police" (Watch) Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) My MoviePass Experience - What Works & What Could Be Improved (The Movie Theater Subscription Service) Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Before They Became Hollywood Stars - Watch Naomie Harris, David Oyelowo in 'Small Island'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 3, 2014 at 10:42AM

The 2-part mini-series spotlights the conflicts of two cultures thrown together after a terrible war, but also the kindness and strength people can show to each other.
4
Small Island

"Small Island" is Andrea Levy’s uplifting story of Jamaican immigrants living in war-ravaged London in the early to mid-20th century. It's a telepic we highlighted on this blog in 2009, before it was to make its premiere in the UK, as well as here in the USA, airing in two parts on PBS’s MASTERPIECE Classic series.

This was a few years before both Naomie Harris and David Oyelowo took on roles that made them widely-familiar to USA audiences. Also, others you'd recognize include Nikki Amuka-Bird (years before she was cast to give Idris Elba trouble in "Luther") and Ashley Walters, the British rapper, actor producer who starred in the critically-acclaimed Channel 4 (UK) dramatic series "Top Boy" (among other roles) - a series that's available on various home video platforms here in the USA.

Set in a time when signs that read “‘No Irish, no coloureds, no dogs” were routinely put up by landlords and in ads for rooms to rent, "Small Island" follows the interlocking lives of the young British Queenie (played by Ruth Wilson who you'll remember as Alice in "Luther"), her Jamaican tenant, Gilbert (Oyelowo), his wife Hortense (Harris), and Queenie’s husband Bernard (played by Benedict Cumberbatch - another familiar name, years before he took on Captain Kirk and company in the last Star Trek movie, or played a slave master in "12 Years a Slave").

The mini-series was based on a novel of the same title by Andrea Levy. It was the winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction (2004), the Whitbread Novel Award (2004), the Orange Best of the Best (2005), and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize (2005). It offers insight into the oft ignored conditions for blacks arriving in the UK from across the British Empire, just after the Second Wold War.

If you've never watched the 2-part film, you're in luck, because it's available on Hulu in full (all 3 hours of it). Both parts are embedded below (I thought it would be on Netflix, but, unfortunately, it's not available for streaming):


This article is related to: Naomie Harris, David Oyelowo, Ashley Walters, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Benedict Cumberbatch, VOD


Shadow & ActNewsletter