According to the show's writer and star, Ray BLK, Candice Carty-Williams' BBC drama Champion, which centers on two siblings trying to succeed in the music business, is a celebration of black British music culture.
Best-selling author Candice Carty-Williams was particularly concerned with nailing the music when she was creating her first TV drama. .
The author of the book admits in a tearful behind-the-scenes scene on the set of Champion, "I've had sleepless nights over it, as you can tell, hence the tears. "However, it all worked out. Each and every track has paid off. ".
The BBC One drama Champion centers on two musically gifted siblings named Bosco and Vita. It was filmed in Birmingham and is set in south London. Bosco is portrayed by Malcolm Kamulete from the UK crime drama Top Boy, and Vita is portrayed by Déja J. Bowens.
In the fiercely competitive UK music market, the Champion family's brother and sister are both vying for success. However, as the pressure to do well grows, they become increasingly at odds with one another, tearing the family apart.
The show includes both traditional British music, such as So Solid Crew's 21 Seconds and Sugababes' Overload, and original songs by UK artists, such as grime rapper Ghetts and BBC Sound Of winner Ray BLK.
The 25-year-old fictional Jamaican-British woman Queenie Jenkins is the subject of Candice's first book, Queenie, which is about her life.
Candice claims that when it came to the television show Champion, she spent more time collaborating with songwriters and producers on the music's development than she did on the dialogue and scene scripts.
I have extremely high standards for music, and my guiding principle at the outset of this whole thing was that the music had to be worthwhile. The element that elevates this entire show must be the music. ".
"When I watched the episodes back, I felt, Oh this is going to be a huge cultural moment," says singer-songwriter Ray BLK, who is also making her acting debut as Vita's best friend Honey. '" .
On June 30, a single version of My Girl, one of the songs Ray BLK wrote for the show, was made available.
She claims that the neo-soul and Randamp;B-influenced song is one of her favorites from Champion because "it's just about female friendship.". .
Ray BLK is especially happy that her real-life best friend Abigail is hearing My Girl for the first time even though she wrote it for Champion characters Vita and Honey because "the song is basically about her and about our friendship," she says.
"I know she's going to cry when she hears it because I told her about it and she was already acting emotional. ".
For Candice and Ray BLK, it was crucial that Champion be a celebration of the variety of black British musical genres, including grime, R&B, soul, and reggae. The series also features additional original music from musicians Debbie and Shola Ama.
The statement made by Candice is, "I want people to understand that our culture is so expansive and so wide-ranging. We contain a vast array of things and are three-dimensional. ".
Regarding the novelty of presenting grime music to a wide-ranging BBC One audience, Candice explains, "I always want to do something no-one's done before. ".
Ray BLK adds that the Champions are a "perfect depiction" of a Caribbean-British family and that "everything in Champion is very British.".
"I love that we get to see that. Caribbean culture is a big part of British culture today. ".
Furthermore, Ray BLK feels that black British music culture merits greater appreciation for both its cultural and economic contributions.
She claims that mainstream acceptance of black music is necessary. "I'm hoping that this show will help people realize how important it is.
"Black British music is not a fad; it is popular all over the world and is here to stay. ".
Black British musicians Stormzy, Dave, PinkPanther, and more have achieved Top 10 success in 2023.
And Ray BLK, who believes that women in the UK music industry still require more support, adds that it is "an honor" for Champion to carry on the tradition of earlier black British music on TV, from Channel U to MTV Base.
I hope that in 10, 15, or more years the younger generation will ask, "Do you remember Champion? Do you remember the music from that?".
One of the many themes covered in Champion is the harm to musicians' mental health caused by intense competition and business pressure.
Before going on stage to perform, rapper Bosco is shown in the first episode of the series hyperventilating and having a panic attack.
Ray BLK says, "I'm pretty sure 99 percent of artists, if not all, feel anxious," when describing the pressure that young artists experience to succeed. I appreciate that [Champion] revealed the backstage action.
"That is truly how it is. That sort of thing does occur. Since everyone is just waiting for their chance, feeling like it has passed you by can really ruin you. ".
She also believes it's critical to draw attention to Honey, the "witty and passionate" character played by Ray BLK in the film Champion.
"I feel that those topics are still somewhat taboo in society, which is unfortunate, but I'd say that the black community in particular has a long way to go before that changes. And I think programs like [Champion] will accomplish that. ".
And through Champion's story, Candice wanted to introduce a fundamental theme: love.
It's primarily about a family, she continues, "about a brother and sister and their love for one another.
"Love is always the underlying force behind everything, even if things aren't always going well and there's drama, tension, or pain. " .
Thanks to New Pictures Ltd., Ben Gregory-Ring, and Aimee Spinks for the BBC images.