Buneos Dias amigos, by now you should all have heard the brilliant news that our good friend Aaron Roach Bridgeman is the new SB:TV presenter who hits the ground running with interviews tomorrow. Massive congratulations go out to you Aaron from all of us at peppergrain, and for those of you who want to get to know him a little better, this re-post of our exclusive interview last month with arguably one of the nicest men in the scene, will give you a little insight.
It all started for Aaron long before he first started acting or writing, as a youngster he was always obsessed with words and described himself as ‘a sponge’ always soaking up the information around him and yet those stereotypical societal pressures that affect young, black males in London, meant he felt he had to hide his passion, often ‘dumbing down’ the way he spoke to fit in and be accepted. Opportunity finally came when Aaron decided, “fuck it! I’m going to do a play!” while in sixth form, and that play was Grease. Yes, the boy from road was going to be in an all-singing, all-dancing school production of Grease, and yet he was good, so good that a classmate recommended he join him at an acting workshop he attended, he says “from there, I was taken on by Sharon Harris and they sent me to auditions all over the place, and even though I was getting somewhere, I decided to go to university.’
So Aaron enrolled at the University of Birmingham and bizarrely, signed up to study electrical computer engineering which he disliked so much he was about to drop out of uni, when a friend suggested he sign up to a course which he would enjoy more, and he picked Media, Culture and Society. The new course led Aaron to the university newspaper where he became the first black, male section editor and he also found time to appear in a university production of The Colour of Justice, a Richard Norton-Taylor play about the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the shamble of an investigation that followed. Aaron played Stephens’ friend Duwayne Brooks and it kept the thirst for acting alive alongside his newfound passion for Journalism.
Aaron set up various work experience placements, including one with Total Film and began freelancing for several magazines including itsalot, became features editor at da–mjuzik.com until it closed, and now writes for UK Chocolate and graduates anonymous. On his return to London after uni, he also landed the role in From the Root To The Fruit and developed a friendship with director Aj Power, he says ” We became friends, and he said he saw me being a news presenter, so we started doing Newsflash (an online news bulletin) and we’ve been doing it every week since”.
Since then Aaron has also become part of the Routes and Roots talent development agency and his work with them sees him travelling all over the country and Europe to perform his poetry, which is popular because of its punch lines and comedic pieces, he say’s “I’m not your average spoken-word poet, I don’t speak with exaggerated annunciation or anything, I consider myself more of an MC to be honest and it seems to be working. I get booked for shows quite a lot, I’m performing at the LOL Show in Birmingham next month and I’ll also be performing in Germany at the beginning of October. I enjoy performing and presenting the most, but feel my written poetry is my biggest strength.”
Aaron’s classmates at Sharon Harris included Aml Ameen, Lacey Turner, Loicke Essien, Bluey Robinson and Samuell Benta (The new black power ranger) and its understandable why Aaron feels like despite having already achieved so much, there is a lot more he could be doing. “I do believe that the way things are going right now it’s only a matter of time before something happens. I’m starting to create a lot of interest without even realising it because often more eyes see what you’re doing before you realise ” he says.
“Ultimately, I want to be established and get my poetry published and go to schools and tell kids not to be afraid to like words, I hid it for a long time but I want to encourage them to embrace being an intellect, there’s nothing uncool about it. One of the reasons I felt so dissatisfied when I was younger, was because I spent too much time trying to be something else, most of my friends still are, they see what I’m doing, and they’re proud, but even though I have their support, they’re not really interested unless the subject matter is guns or something similar and to be honest, I’m just trying to rise above it.
His talent speaks for itself but it is Aaron’s genuine humility and social awareness that really set him apart from his peers, his poetry is thoughtful but not pretentious and he has a very welcoming manner, an all round nice-guy without the cliché of nice-guys finishing last, remember where you saw him first because Mr Bridgeman is definitely going somewhere, soon.
Follow Aaron on twitter @akaRoachMan and make sure you check out the audition video at the top of the page which got him the job. Do you think Aaron’s gonna smash it as the new SB:TV presenter? Did you like his audition? Who would you like to see him interview? Let us know in the comments!
Monica Rahman @lolitalikesit