Renowned British grime artist Skepta is set to make a seismic entry into the world of film with his debut project, "Tribal Mark."

Is there anything that Skepta can’t do? Having launched his house record label Más Tiempo with Jammer last year, and announced his new album, Fork & Knife, back in December it seems the grime legend is still unwilling to rest on his laurels. Tribal Mark is the rapper’s directorial debut, following an anti-hero-cum-secret agent who’s struggling with the pain and confusion of migrant life.


The short film, released today, is co-directed by Dwight Okechukwu and produced by 1PLUS1. The story delves into the life of Mark, a Nigerian immigrant who navigates the complexities of adapting to a new culture in London. Skepta takes on the role of Mark, who evolves from a troubled teenager imprisoned for firearm possession to a sharply suited hitman working for the Black Secret Service.

Skepta draws inspiration from his own experiences as an immigrant and – whilst he has stated that it’s in no way intended to be a biopic of his life, as all characters and narratives are fictionalised – the film explores the phenomenon of dissociation that immigrants feel when moving to and living in the UK.


In a deliberate move to create roles for Black actors, Skepta emphasises the need for diverse representation in cinema. Having previously discussed his discontent with the ongoing online rhetoric surrounding a ‘Black James Bond,’ this feature sees the culmination of the artist’s desire to forge a whole new character for Black actors to play. Skepta sought to highlight the incongruity of actors requesting roles outside their cultural identity. The film features a 90% minority ethnic cast and production team, contributing to the industry’s ongoing conversation about diversity.


Tribal Mark extends beyond traditional storytelling by incorporating Skepta’s music, featuring a new song titled ‘Gas Me Up (Diligent)’ from his upcoming album, Knife and Fork. The film weaves in Skepta’s Western African heritage and emphasises its role as a constant element in the protagonist’s life.

As the film hits UK cinemas, Skepta envisions Tribal Mark as the first step in a larger project, hinting at plans for TV shows and future movies within this cinematic universe. The rapper’s foray into filmmaking adds another dimension to his multifaceted career, echoing his DIY ethos in music production. The rapper envisions Tribal Mark as a prequel to a broader cinematic universe featuring more Black male leads.


Tribal Mark serves not only as a cinematic endeavour but also as a cultural statement, addressing themes of identity, systemic oppression, and resilience. Skepta’s commitment to providing authentic representation and relatable storytelling positions the film as a significant contribution to the ever-evolving landscape of British cinema.


In a world hungry for diverse narratives, Tribal Mark emerges as what holds the potential to be a beacon of creativity, challenging existing norms and paving the way for another facet of storytelling.


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