According to Sport England, 95% of blacks cannot swim and only 1% of competitive swimmers are BAME. As a mixed diver, regular pool and open water swimmer, these numbers shocked me and I set out to learn more. I found out about a new documentary film and the Black Swimming Association, who want to advocate for people of color in water sports.
After digging a bit deeper, I found that cultural myths related to swimming are rife among the black population, from beliefs about greater bone density to underrepresentation, which creates a sense of alienation among BAME people.
It is a fact that Afro hair is usually dry, porous, and delicate, and chlorinated pool water is much bigger business for us than for people with Caucasian hair, but more of us these days choose to wear our hair naturally, hair type and a few stories of old women alone can’t be enough to stop so many blacks from going into the pool, right?
Blacks Can’t Swim – The sequel
Ed Accura’s second feature documentary combines acting with real interview material from 14-25 year olds from the Black Community who share their thoughts on why their generation doesn’t swim.
The story is about two black youths (Layla and K-Frost) from a gritty town council in south London who are part of a music and sports-based community program that aims to give young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds a better chance in life. To complete this program, which opens doors to a world of opportunity, they must learn to swim.
Frank (Ed Accura), who will act as mentor due to his real-world problems with swimming, faces the great challenge of getting these two young adults to get into the water. Will he succeed in just two weeks? And will he ever find out why Layla and K-Frost refuse to swim in the first place?
Ed firmly believes that black youth culture could be the turning point and answer to this generation’s long-term problem, as a disproportionate number of blacks do not swim.
Aquaphobia in black parents
Ed goes on to say; “Aquaphobia still persists in many black parents who have not had the opportunity to learn this skill and who still believe that it is safer to stay out of the water than to learn to swim.”
“There comes a point where this generation cycle must be broken, and that time is now.”
Members of the black community discuss their views on swimming
Ed is also a co-founder of the Black Swimming Association (BSA), which was founded in March this year to promote inclusivity, representation and diversity in water sports. Emphasize the value of swimming as a life-saving skill and point out water opportunities and paths that would otherwise be invisible to black communities.
Danielle Obe, Interim CEO of BSA, said, “Blacks Can’t Swim the sequel” is an accurate representation of the barriers the black community faces while swimming, whether based on an inherited cultural belief or simply not gaining access , the knowledge or confidence they need to get into the pool. It is time to break down those barriers and the BSA is proud to be the first of its kind to address this issue directly.
“With the support of the aquatic governing bodies, we can diversify the sport that saves lives and brings about positive change. This includes increasing black representation at all levels of sport, from boardrooms to swimming pools, and providing water safety, life saving and drowning prevention skills to black communities everywhere. “
Black’s Can’t Swim The Sequel is slated for global release in May 2021.
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Shell loves all things travel and the outdoors, and is a nature-loving, comfortable camping girl. Shell started the Camping with Style blog after a serious snowboarding accident that left her with a broken back. Even so, she used the outdoors and nature’s healing powers to relax, and she continues to spend time outdoors whenever she can.
From swimming in the open water, snowboarding and kayaking to mountain hiking and meditation, Shell shares their travels and micro-adventures here on the blog. In various publications she has written for, Shell has a particular interest in promoting the well-being and the many benefits of natural therapy.
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