Paapa Essiedu: "With perseverance comes hope"

The 'I May Destroy You' actor envisions a new era where our collective voices are heard.

by Paapa Essiedu
21 September 2020, 11:44am

This story originally appeared in Up + Rising, a celebration of extraordinary Black voices, and is the first chapter of i-D's 40th anniversary issue (1980-2020).

i-D chronicled over 100 activists and artists, musicians and writers, photographers and creatives, in Atlanta, Baltimore, Minneapolis, LA, London, New York, Paris and Toronto.

“Perseverance and hopefulness are two words on my mind right now. There have already been peaks and troughs in the past few months in regards to the attention (not) paid and scrutiny (not) shown to Black lives and bodies globally.

Paapa wears jacket Diesel. T-shirt American Vintage. Jeans Levi’s. All jewellery model’s own.

After months of signalled corporate allyship and 24/7 media coverage, there will be a moment when it feels like it all quietens. In these moments, it can be easy for us to lose focus, courage and confidence as the world's gaze seems to turn away. But we must persevere, make our collective voices heard loudly and clearly, and continue to demand the world's attention. This can be done in whatever way feels right, be it publicly or personally.

But with perseverance comes hope. I am hopeful we are entering an era where we are moving forward and not backwards and Black lives truly will matter to all.”


Photography Rafael Pavarotti
Styling Ibrahim Kamara

Hair Virginie Moreira at MA+World Group.
Styling assistance Mark Mutyambizi and Marina de Magalhaes.
Hair assistance Charles Stanley.
Casting Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Alexandra Antonova.

Black Lives Matter
Paapa Essiedu