EALING people are celebrating, along with the movie industry, after Steve McQueen won an Oscar for directing the Best Film last night.
His film, 12 Years A Slave, has won universal acclaim for its brutally honest portrayal of slavery in 19th Century America.
But the black British boy with the movie star’s name didn’t have to peer that far into the past to find out about racism.
As a teenager in Hanwell, Steve, now 44, excelled at football and was popular with schoolmates at Drayton Manor High School - but the classroom was a disaster.
He says his teachers were too quick to write him off and he found himself in the lowest stream.
“I’ve never said this before, ever, but I was dyslexic,” he told the Daily Mirror. “And I’ve hidden it, because I was so ashamed. I thought it meant I was stupid.
“I had a lazy eye, so I had a patch. When you’re in front of the chalkboard, you still can’t see. So it was a terrible start. People make judgments very quick. You’re put to one side very quickly.”
After Drayton Manor, McQueen enrolled at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, studying Art, and made rather better progress.
In 1996, McQueen left London for Amsterdam, where he settled with long-time partner Bianca Stigter. Together they are raising daughter Alex and son Dexter.
McQueen isn't the typical artist who lives in a studio.
In fact, he doesn't even have one. In an interview with W Magazine, McQueen revealed that he has generated his best ideas when at home cooking or vacuuming.
He doesn't hang out with other artists, insisting, "That's like if you're a butcher, hanging out with other butchers. You chop meat this way, and I chop meat that way. What's there to talk about?"