FAULT Issue 27 – The Best of British Issue – is now available to order

We are pleased to announce that FAULT Issue 27 – The Best of British Issue – is available to pre-order NOW.

Official release: 27/11/17

FAULT Issue 27 cover star Liam Gallagher was shot by Jack Alexander and styled by Kristine Kilty. Paloma Faith was shot by Ram Shergill and styled by Rachel Holland. Click here to pre-order your copy of this issue!

FAULT Magazine – the Best of British Issue – proudly presents exclusive shoots and interviews with:

Liam Gallagher (front cover)

Paloma Faith (reversible cover)

Seal

Gary Numan

Jake Bugg

Weezer

Hurts

Fall Out Boy

Reggie Yates

Rae Morris

Jared Harris

Plus our usual FAULTless selection of the finest Film, Fashion, Music & Photography to inspire the British Isles and beyond as we celebrate FAULT’s 10 year anniversary!

This is your FAULT

 

FAULT MAGAZINE ISSUE 26 – THE BEST OF BRITISH ISSUE – IS AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW

 *FAULT MAGAZINE IS AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY WORLDWIDE*

…Or get your copy digitally via Zinio! 1 year’s subscription = just £14.40

Fault Magazine In Conversation With Reggie Yates Pt.2

Photography Joseph Sinclair | Styling Rachel Gold @ Red Represents | Lauren Alice @MandyCoakleyRepresents using Medik8 and La Roche Posay

Words: Miles Holder

 

Last time we met up with Reggie Yates, we discussed his experience as a documentary maker, growing up in the spotlight and his career goals – you can see PT.1 of our interview HERE. With the release of his new book ‘Unseen: My Journey by Reggie Yates’, we caught back up with Reggie to discuss the motivations behind the book, the most impactful passages and what else we can expect to see from his career that keeps on giving.  

 

Hi Reggie, can you talk us through why you chose to release ‘Unseen: My Journey by Reggie Yates’, and why now?

I presented the idea because I realised I had a responsibility thanks to the position my life is in at the moment. My voice is the loudest it’s ever been, and I feel like I’m using it responsibly through my documentaries but not releasing enough content, and the book is another way I could help effect change. It’s not an autobiography, that’s something I’ll do at a much later date, it’s a book about the documentaries and what drove me to make them and where my mind was at that time.

 

Why did you feel that it was important to share these stories?

I think sharing that was important because, for 19-year-old me, there was no one talking about challenges they had faced in the industry. I didn’t have stories about what it means to be a minority within a minority within a minority, to be the only person of colour on the studio floor with hundreds of other people but it was me holding the microphone. I wasn’t very prepared for the feeling of saying something and having people not get it, or find it aggressive because they lacked cultural understanding. It’s not their fault; there just wasn’t a point of reference for them at the time.

 

Did you write the book while you were shooting or is it in retrospect taken from memoirs?

I wish I had time to write while I was shooting. I would write down everything I remember, then rewatch the documentary to jog my memory. I spoke to friends, and my director about what they remembered about me when I got home from filming and all of that makes it into the book.

 

In the chapter ‘Riots and Me’ you speak about the young black London kids who at the time were angry. You go throughout the chapter drawing on your shared experiences, but are you also conscious that the Reggie Gates experience is maybe a million miles detached from the environment those children grew up in?

That’s a good point, and I am aware that for a lot of the people I talk to, sometimes the only common ground we share is the fact that we’re both humans. When I draw on loosely shared experiences, it’s a way of me trying to bridge the gap between the audience and the people I’m interviewing so we can have a greater understanding of what drives the person’s decisions. I’m not desperately trying to find similarities, and it’s just me trying to find out and understand why they are the way they are.

 

There’s a passage in your book where you talk about a makeup artist applying makeup “two shades too light” for you; it’s a passage which resonated with me because I understood that as a grievance for black models and black people on TV in general which many don’t speak up about. It’s subtlely mentioned, and might fly over the heads of readers who don’t understand the significance but why was it so important for you to include the passage in your book?

It’s actually from the very first paragraph, and it’s funny, that even as a child I recognised something was wrong with that, and you’re the very first person to recognise that passage for what it was, which says a lot about how oblivious many are to the minority experience in the industry. We notice things on a daily basis but have to rise above it quietly because we don’t want to upset people with our “blackness”. I put it in the book because I don’t think people recognise how exhausting it can be to bite your tongue through those situations but people are out there trying to change that, and I believe we will.

 

Every project we get to see a different side of you, are there any topics that you haven’t had a chance to speak about thoroughly?

I cover a lot of it in the book, but no one has ever unpacked with me what it means to be black and on television in the UK. What it means to have ambitions in the media but be from a working-class background be you white or black. To me “diverse” means to be “the other” and it’s important that when I say “the other” or “diverse” that people understand that I also include many white communities and working-class white people in that. All of these diverse perspectives are entirely lost in the media sometimes, and you don’t see people like us on any grand scale or any drive to change or understand that. We talk about investing in talent but it’s always talent that’s already on its way up, and there’s not enough put into developing new talent.

 

What’s the next step for Reggie Yates?

I have an exhibition with Amnesty International, and I’m also exhibiting at The Tate, I have a lot of photography going in there, and hopefully one day I’ll release a photobook because I have over 15 years of imagery which I’m proud of.

 

Do you have a favourite photographer?

I’d have to say Viviane Sassen, I got given her ‘Flamboya’ photobook for Christmas years ago, and found it so inspiring. She finds the middle ground between art and photography which is something that I’m interested in doing and her a lot of her work looks like sculpture and paintings; that’s where I want to be.

 

A lot of Viviane Sassen’s work is praised for showing the real beauty of being “the other” – in many ways that’s what you’re already doing in your documentary work.

I think that’s what draws me to her work; it’s interesting seeing her go from fascinating art projects to doing an ACNE campaign and photographing it in the same way she’d shoot East-African men on the beach. I’m fascinated by her work because she is an artistic photographer but the way the fashion world is embracing her has helped blur the line between art and fashion, and that’s what I love to see.

 

Unseen: My Journey by Reggie Yates published by BBC Books, price £18.99 | THE INSIDER S2 is available on BBC3

 

 

FAULT Magazine In Conversation With Reggie Yates PT.1

Photography Joseph Sinclair | Styling Rachel Gold @ Red Represents | Lauren Alice @MandyCoakleyRepresents using Medik8 and La Roche Posay

Words: Miles Holder

 

For those who grew up watching 1990s terrestrial television, Reggie Yates has always been a household name – the recognisable young face who young POC across the country grew up with as their pillar of cultural representation on children’s television. Programs have come and gone since he made his debut on the Desmond’s in 1993, but still to this day, Reggie is still a mainstay on our television screens.

In 2013, we were introduced to a new side of Reggie through his documentary ‘Reggie Yates’s Extreme South Africa’, I say this was a “new side” of Reggie, but for many of us it was the first time we’d ever gotten to know Reggie Yates the person as opposed to the Saturday morning television presenter. Lying alone in his tent and discussing how South Africa’s race issues were affecting his own perception of self, it was a million miles away from the Reggie I remembered interviewing Atomic Kitten on ‘Smile’ or from his seldom spoken about appearance on Celebrity Fame Academy in 2005. A real Reggie; down to earth, an undeniably, unashamedly “black” Reggie Yates.

As more projects have released, the idea of Reggie Yates as a documentary maker has gone from career pivot to career-defining; critics and viewers alike now hold his work in the same esteem as one might the documentaries of Louis Theroux or Andrew Marr – a merit not many young British stars achieve.

 

FAULT: All those years of presenting children’s television, was the plan always to move into documentary making?

Reggie: No, and to be honest, there has never been a plan until now. It’s only in the last decade that the focus has been on doing projects which I genuinely care for. I know where I’d like to be at forty years of age in my personal and professional life and at the age of twelve I just wanted to have fun and as I’ve matured my desires for my career changed.

FAULT: Your career is an anomaly; it prompted The NewStatesman to run a story entitled ‘Does Reggie Yates Have The Weirdest Career In Television?’ – do you feel as though it’s been weird?

I don’t think I do have the weirdest career on television, I would replace “weird” with “authentic”. When I was eighteen, the BBC were telling me that I was going to be a ‘Blue Peter’ presenter and I was like, “no I’m not.” I never watched ‘Blue Peter’ growing up, and it never spoke to me, and quite frankly, I didn’t care for it. For those reasons, I didn’t do it and they just couldn’t understand and didn’t get it.

FAULT: Blue Peter is a big gig to pass up, what did you do instead?

What I went on to do was doing children shows where it felt like I was allowed to be me in, I helped create ‘The Crust’ a sitcom we did in a tower block, and it had a predominately black cast and I was twenty-one at that point. I always did things that feel right at the time, and that’s why there’s been this crazy flow but if you study my career, it’s always moved me forward, and now, everything aligns. The book makes sense next to the documentaries, the documentaries make sense with the photography, and that’s what I’m spending my life doing. All about empathy and learning, growth, sharing and I’m not just taking pictures for the sake of it like I used to do, I’ve just shot an exhibition for amnesty international on refugees, and their stories are as important as the imagery, and that’s where I am in my career.

The night before our interview I had watched ‘Reggie Yates In A Refugee Camp’ which saw him enter the largest refugee camp in Iraq alongside 30,000 Syrian refugees. A news report played on the television showing the death of an Iraqi journalist only twenty miles from the cafe where Reggie sat. This now deceased journalist, much like Reggie, placed herself in the line of danger to get her story. One does wonder if that journalist was possibly the Iraqi counterpart of Reggie Yates, one whose career mirrors his own  and what it must be like to watch someone with such a shared experience, meet such a tragic end.

 

FAULT: What was it like to sit and hear the news on a journalist, possibly one whose careers closely mirrored your own killed so close by?

I can see why you can make the comparison, but I think I disengaged from the similarities because I’m not a war journalist, and in situations where bombs are going off, that’s the last place I’ll be. I put myself in situations which are difficult, yes, but it’s human interest stories which drive me. I look to find the heart of the issue through the people that I meet, and I don’t feel like I’m in a similar level of danger. It did sadden me though; her life was cut short because she was trying to do the right thing and open conversations and that’s wrong.

 

Throughout the documentary, we’re shown all the damning emotions one might expect from the people now forced to seek shelter within the refugee camp, but through all of this, Reggie reminds us of the power of friendship, love and compassion can make the worst of circumstances, that little bit easier. In the later episode ‘A Week in a Toxic Waste Dump’ we’re introduced to the Burner Boys, a group of young men working in dangerous conditions in the largest electronic waste dumps in the world – Accra’s Agbogbloshie. Much like the formerly discussed episode, we also end with the Burner Boys a little closer to happiness from when the documentary opened.

This isn’t the case with all of Reggie’s documentaries. In the previous series, we’ve seen him come face-to-face with the far-right, misogynists, racists and projects do inevitably end with his subjects no happier or less angry at the world than when the documentaries started.

 

FAULT: Has there has ever been a particular person who he wished he could have steered into seeing a happier way of living?

Every film there’s someone I meet that I wish I could steer to a happier future, but I think I have to be realistic about my capabilities. I can’t fix everybody that I meet in a documentary or the real world. My job is to connect with people and tell their story, but it’s not to change the world, and it’d be irresponsible and unfair for me to promise a relationship with everyone. A lot of people had said to me, “please tell me you stayed in touch with the Burner Boys and did more” but it’s hard because two weeks earlier I was in Iraq, and a month before that I was in jail in North Carolina and what about staying in touch with those guys?

I don’t do these films as a one-off project; I’m not some kid on a gap year building a house in Africa and pissing off forever. I have plans where there is legacy, and I return; for instance in Kenya and Iberia, I’ve been back several times. In Awal, I was affected by being there and my connection to the land from being of Ghanian decent I’ve started the ball rolling on a campaign to bring about change. It’s not something I feel the need to shout about here because I’m not doing it for promotion, I’m doing it out of personal responsibility as a Ghanaian the position that I’m in.

 

FAULT: You touched on a point saying that you’re not a student on your gap year going in and fucking off. How do you respond when people counter with the argument that you’ve gone into Iraq, made your documentary and then like you say, fucked off?

It’s a very easy answer; the difference is I’ve made a film about it which you and many people have seen across the country. It’s started a conversation which wasn’t there before, and we don’t know what the legacy of that documentary will be – it could sell internationally, and it explains displacement in a way I’ve never seen before. I’ve done something different and original, and it will effect change even if it’s just in the attitude of the audience watching it.

 

FAULT: Do you have any career regrets?

I don’t have any. There are things I could have done better, things go wrong all the time, there are documentaries which I’ve made which have been a bit rubbish, but I’ve learnt from all of them, and it’s cheesy textbook crap, it reigns true. It’s essential that I celebrate my failures as much as my successes because of nothing is a better teacher than failure.

 

 

In Pt2 – we’ll discuss Reggie’s new book, future projects, race and above all else – FAULTS.

Coming Soon…

 

Unseen: My Journey by Reggie Yates published by BBC Books, price £18.99 | THE INSIDER S2 is available on BBC3