Drama taking on gang culture myths features Dagenham actor

Jeremy Lawal), JMoney (Dwayne Lewis) and Chris (Frances Ndhlovu)

L-R: Fingers (Jeremy Lawal), JMoney (Dwayne Lewis) and Chris (Francis Ndhlovu). - Credit: Quincy

A "heartfelt" drama exposing myths about gang culture and its threat to family life has been released online.

False Paradise features 19-year-old cast member Jeremy Lawal, from Dagenham, who plays Fingers - a courier for drug dealing bad guy JMoney.

Jeremy said: "Living in Dagenham, there aren't many acting opportunities. So when I found out about False Paradise, I had to jump on it and I was definitely right to.

"Not only was it being filmed down the road, it was also a great experience. Both on and off the set we were like one big family. 'Twas a great time."

The series, which was filmed in Newham, tells the story of Darren, a young black man battling to escape his past to create a stable life for his daughter Courtney after the loss of her mum.

Writer and producer Sylvia Amanquah said: "False Paradise was created out of me wanting to tell a story of inner-city street culture and the challenges young people experience.

"Growing up, I lost a lot of friends to drugs, prison and violent deaths. This is what influenced me. I wanted to show street life does not have a positive outcome and to deter young people from going down this road.

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"I wanted to show this through a heartfelt story, not the typical drug-dealing, over-exaggerated violent short films and online series which I have seen over the years."

Pierre Wilson-Cox, Rashid Matabaro, Dwayne Lewis and Kayode Cole.

False Paradise features (left to right) Pierre Wilson-Cox, Rashid Matabaro, Dwayne Lewis and Kayode Cole. - Credit: Quincy

Rashid Matabaro plays Darren, who tries to prove himself to Courtney’s grandmother in a bid to gain custody of her.

She believes Darren’s old lifestyle makes him incapable of looking after her. Caught between the past and present, Darren just wants to prove he is responsible enough.

But he gets caught in a gang war between drug dealer JMoney (Dwayne Lewis), his right hand man CJ (Kayode Cole) and rival Kane (Pierre Wilson-Cox), putting his dream of being a good dad in jeopardy.

Niyi Towolawi

False Paradise from Hardknock Productions was directed by Niyi Towolawi. - Credit: Quincy

Now in its second season, False Paradise from Hardknock Productions was directed by Niyi Towolawi.

The 44-year-old said: "I was attracted to this project for its rawness and authenticity in exploring the consequences of gang activities, especially on loved ones who are often forced to pick up the pieces.

"The actors, through a process of full immersion, can easily be mistaken as playing real characters."

False Paradise is available to watch on YouTube.