Lady Leshurr talks banter, being posh and writing her own sketch show

Having listened to Lady Leshurr’s music for years, the last place I expected to interview her was the press preview of a film festival at Channel 4. But nevertheless, that’s where I found her, bubbly and frank as ever.

The event in question was in honour of the British Urban Film Festival, which starts on September 17. The festival will host 27 screenings and four UK premieres, as well as panel discussions around issues affecting the urban film industry.

So, why was one of the UK’s best rappers there?

Well, Melesha O’Garro, better known by her stage name, Lady Leshurr, has turned her talents to acting. She stars in the film Lapse of Honour which will be shown on September 18 at the Genesis cinema in Stepney, Tower Hamlets.

Phoebe Parke: Tell me a bit about what you’re doing at the moment? Are you still rapping as well as acting?

Lady Leshurr: I’m still doing music, when I was younger I used to act, rap and dance. I had to pick which one I wanted to focus on and run with it, so I chose the music, now I’m trying to bring the acting and the dancing into my music.

I do miss acting, the film that I’m in Lapse of Honour is actually three years old. We filmed it in Manchester and it’s only just come out.

It’s a great time for it to come out, I’ve had a good year so far and it’s just amazing to have a film that I’m starring in be in cinemas, that’s overwhelming for me.

I did a bit of acting before, I was in 1 Day which was by Vertigo films, directed by Penny Woolcock, that did really well, but it was taken out of the cinemas because it was very violent. People were seeing the negative side of it, when it was actually a positive film.

What kind of roles do you want to do? A female rapper role or something different?

I want there to be diversity, I don’t want people to stereotype me. When I was at school I did a lot of theatre work, my voice was very posh, I’m from a very posh area, well, we were the only black family in a white neighbourhood. I can be very versatile when it comes to acting. I want to actually shock people and come out of my comfort zone to do different things.

What do you think about people saying Idris Elba is too ‘street’ to play James Bond?

That makes me frown, is it because he’s black that they think he’s too hood? People should be congratulating him, he’s from England and he’s flying the flag, he’s a household name.

I’ve noticed a lot of people especially in the media try and bring up his past and then mention his achievements afterwards. You don’t need to bring that up, just congratulate him.

What do you want to be doing this time next year?

Hopefully I see myself doing more films, I’d love to be in a film in America or a TV series.

Would you ever do comedy?

That is basically what I am, I don’t think people understand it, my banter is way too high for some people. For the music side of things it’s a little bit too much, but I’ve got some characters, and I’m working on my own sketch show at the moment.

I play these characters in my spare time, I’ve developed and tested them on people, the supporters really love it. I definitely want to get into comedy.

I’m working on my EP, Queen of the Scene which will be out by the end of this year, I’m also dropping something on Christmas day, I’ll keep that as a surprise though.

I’ve got my own tour in October, I’m going to Glasgow, London, Manchester, Leeds and my home town of Birmingham. That should be amazing. I’ll have a few supporting acts with me, some dancers and a few of my characters will come out on the show as well. I’m going to make it a proper movie.

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