I was saddened to hear about the passing of comedy veteran Felix Dexter a few hours ago. At the time of writing this no official statement has been made about the cause of death, but it’s been speculated that he had been suffering from bone marrow cancer. As news of his death blazed across the social networking sites like wild fire, I found it quite poignant that his departure would occur as we ‘celebrate’ Black History Month in the UK. As more and more people begin to question the need for a BHM even within our own community, the passing of our unsung heroes remind us why we must never become indifferent about the contributions that the likes of this incredible talent has made to our rich cultural legacy. Felix Dexter was that guy. He was by far one of the standout stars from the BBC 2 hit comedy The Real McCoy, which aired on BBC2 in the early-to- mid ’90s. With characters such as the loveable Nigerian student, Nathan, and Douglas, the roots and culture lawyer, through Felix we were finally presented with authentic representations of ourselves that not only had the ability to raise a chuckle or induce a belly laugh, but help us make sense of our cultural nuances and shared experience of living as minorities in good ole Blighty.
The void left by The Real McCoy has been felt by many. My girl Janice Spence (@madnews) only posted a salute to Dexter last month; my sis Davina Hamilton from The Voice created a heavily supported campaign to bring back the ground-breaking comedy, and the brilliant Shakara Speaks from The British Blacklist penned an insightful piece on the socio-political statements the show was able to make using comedy as a conduit.
We thank God for YouTube. Tomorrow Black History Month will take an unexpected turn as I will endeavour to take a trip down memory lane while schooling my son on the teachings of brother Na-tan-yul.
RIP Felix Dexter