Model, boxer, the love interest of Rihanna in the infamous “We Found Love” video and now he can add actor to that impressive list. How does this East London boy keep up with his busy schedule without owning a mobile phone?
Why do you call yourself Swan-crow?
There’s light and dark in me, just like in everyone else. The light is represented by the swan and the dark by the crow. Also I am half black and half white – two of my favourite colours. In reality they are one, because you can’t have one without the other. Black and white, it’s the basis of everything. Take Bill Gates or any other inventor, they all start with an idea in their head, which is black and white, but if you add enough work to that it turns into colour, just like my mother and father. Things were still very racist here in the UK when I was born, but they came together and had me, and I guess I’m the colourful thing in their eyes.
What’s the meaning of your tattoos?
There’s the “Black 8 White” – so simple, yet so powerful. The beginning of everything colourful .
I have an 8 on my ear because my father never taught me about religion, he taught me about being a good person. That everything goes around and comes back again, which is like a 0, but my life I feel, is more like 8. It’s behind my ear, because my father’s voice is in my ear and I always hear it. I suppose he is my subconscious.
There’s a cross on my finger – I went to church and the pastor said ‘do something in your career this week that will make people speculate about your religion, rather than just telling them straight out which might scare them’. So automatically I thought of getting a tattoo on my finger, but I lost my bank card that day and someone I knew said her bf wanted to give me a tattoo for free, all this on the same day. So it worked out as if it was meant to be.
How do you manage to get by without owning a mobile phone?
Living with a mobile phone isn’t very good for me. It causes me stress and I end up breaking it anyway. Sometimes it feels like I’ve had more iPhones than hot dinners. Without a phone I feel so much calmer, also I can chose who I wish to communicate with. I have more time for those whom I truly care for, who care about me, and there’s no bullshit. I don’t have time for bullshit. I want to live life, the real life rather than the one on Instagram. You see people at a pool party, bored out of their minds. They smile and take a selfie and post it to the world to give off the impression that they are happy and having fun. What’s real?
We’ve heard that you enjoy spending time on the street, sitting on a kerb and observing?
I don’t know why the kerb, it just feels good and I follow what I feel. I guess it’s because no one is really on the kerb. It’s in between the people and the vehicles so you see from a point of view you don’t normally see. It’s a place I can relax and think – I find it quite romantically gritty too.
Do you believe in time travel?
I don’t believe in time, so I don’t really believe in time travel, that said, I would want to be able to travel mentally to certain moments of my life, so only mentally but not physically.
What’s the most magical place in London?
For me, my mother’s belly.
Photography & interview by Andrea Vecchiato