Actor Rakie Ayola says people shouldn’t call The Pact family ‘woke’
BBC Breakfast

Hands up if you’re tired of hearing the word “woke” used to describe everything from food choices to the sky itself (really).

Well, one actor called out anyone who uses the term too freely during an impromptu but impassioned monologue on BBC Breakfast, and Twitter watched on in awe.

Rakie Ayola, stars in thriller The Pact, the second series of which is about to be released and centres on a Black family living in Wales.

During a discussion about the show, presenter Victoria Fitz said to Ayola: “There are some people who will see this as a ‘woke’ version of a Welsh family,” before glancing over at her interviewee and remarking: “I can see you rolling your eyes.”

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The actor and producer, who also appeared in the BBC’s adaptation of Noughts + Crosses, responded calmly but assuredly: “If anybody wants to say that to me, what I would say first is explain what you mean by ‘woke’ and then we can have the conversation. If you cannot explain it, don’t hand me that word.”

She continued: “Don’t use a word you cannot describe. Because you don’t know what you mean, or maybe you know exactly what you mean and you’re afraid to say what you mean, so let’s have that conversation… Not even afraid, you daren’t. Do you know what I mean?”

Fritz replied “mmm, I do,” before her guest went on: “Sit there and tell me what you mean by ‘woke’ and then we can talk about whether this show is ‘woke’ or not. Because then I will introduce you to a family just like this one.

“So when you say, ‘They don’t exist when they clearly do,’ are you saying that they’re not allowed to exist? What do you mean by that?”

Ayola ended her unexpected speech: “Let’s have a proper conversation. Don’t throw words around willy-nilly when you’re not afraid to say exactly what you mean. If you don’t know, please be quiet because you’re incredibly boring.”

The clip was met with adulation on social media, with viewers hailing it as the perfect response to anyone who "hides behind this shameful trope," as singer Billy Bragg put it:

Here's what others had to say:







Hopefully Ayola's comments will wake people up to the fact they should look up what a word means before deploying it as a verbal weapon.

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