Ashley Belal Chin, Honorary Doctor of the University

Ashley Belal Chin, also known by his stage name Muslim Belal, is an inspirational figure in the entertainment industry. He is an actor, screenwriter, spoken word poet, and rapper.

Growing up in a single-parent household on a Lambeth council estate, Ashley had a talent for acting but lacked role models from a similar background to give him the belief that acting was a viable career option.

His mother recognised his natural creative talent and encouraged him to audition for a role in Storm Damage, a 2000 BBC television drama film. The producers sought someone who understood life on a council estate, and Ashley was the perfect fit.

Storm Damage provided his breakthrough moment, although despite achieving success and monetary gain, fame presented Ashley with new challenges. After a period of struggles, he converted to Islam in 2002, and his faith has become a crucial part of his lifestyle and identity.

He returned to acting after a seven-year break with renewed appreciation, a deeper understanding of himself, and a drive to help others rise.

In 2011, he wrote his first film, 'Victim', about a young man's attempts to escape a life of violent crime only to find himself the target of retaliation. He has also appeared on stage in Romeo and Juliet and in TV shows such as Silent Witness and Eastenders.

Ashley has used his platform to give back to local communities, motivating young people through conversation and poetry to help them envisage a future beyond their immediate circumstances.

His philanthropy work also extends abroad, as he is part of the Spot Project, an initiative to support underprivileged children.


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