White Yardie, whose real name is Harry Gregory, has been forced to defend his Jamaican heritage in a TV debate aired on Channel 4’s Unapologetic.
The comedian, who was born in England, appeared on the show’s pilot last Thursday to discuss ‘who gets to define black culture’.
In the chat, presenter Zeze Mills asked Yardie whether or not he identifies as Jamaican, as he was born in Britain and then moved to the country when he was just three months old.
Watch the moment White Yardie defends his Jamaican heritage in the clip below…
In response, he said: “I do class myself as part of the Jamaican culture but it’s one of them ones where I have never given myself any titles of anything. People have given it to me.
“I would class [myself] as Jamaican because of my experience and also I spent the majority of my life in Jamaica, and also my whole life is lived as a Jamaican lifestyle.
“Three months all the way up until I was 18. That’s the foundation of my life.”
In agreement with Yardie, GB New’s Inaya Folarin added: “To me black culture is just anything and all that that emerges from people of Afro-Caribbean heritage and so it doesn’t have to be this rigid defining thing that has limits.
“I think the culture, the music, the food, any of those things that emerge from people of African heritage it really is a broad term of what Afro-Caribbean heritage is and I think anyone can enjoy those things and appreciate them and take inspiration from them.”
However, the debate quickly became ‘uncomfortable’ for viewers to watch when culture journalist Nicolas-Tyrell Scott asked Yardie when he ‘decided’ to identify as Jamaican.
“It’s not like I wake up and say, ‘Five years old, I’m gonna be Jamaican,’ ‘Oh, 10 years old, I think I’m Jamaican,’ ’12 years old, I’m definitely Jamaican,'” Yardie responded. “It’s just what’s inside.”
After watching the ‘awkward’ moment, many people took to Twitter and defended Yardie.
One person tweeted: “I really wish people would educate themselves before asking ignorant and disrespectful questions. You’re a better person than me @White_Yardie because my response would’ve been so disrespectful. How can you ask someone, ‘When did you decide you were Jamaican?’.”
Another added: “White Yardie literally can’t speak in an English accent, I’ve heard him try, it’s a mess lol. But a man asked him, ‘When did you decide that you were Jamaican,’ sounding like Mary Poppins. Social media is crazy man.”
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