Back in 2015, a study by Public Health England was published, showing that one in four Black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. One in 12, it revealed, will die from prostate cancer, making Black men twice as likely to lose their lives to the disease than white men.
These statistics take centre stage in Steve McQueen’s new short film, Embarrassed, which (as the title suggests) aims to dispel any awkwardness that might stifle conversation about prostate cancer in the Black community.
Starring four award-winning Black actors — Idris Elba, Morgan Freeman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Micheal Ward — the vital film runs at just under two minutes, and premiered last week at a star-studded Tate Britain screening.
Directed by the British artist and filmmaker, Embarrassed is created in collaboration with the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign, with support from the British brand Belstaff.
Besides raising awareness about the disease’s disproportionate effect on Black men, the organisers intend to encourage the UK government to introduce automatic testing for the demographic at highest risk: Black men aged 45 and over.
“Prostate cancer is survivable,” as Elba notes in the film. “If caught and treated early enough.”
Watch Steve McQueen’s Embarrassed below, and find more information here. You can also revisit Dazed’s interview with the artist — as his wide-ranging Tate Modern survey got underway in 2020 — here.