British actor David Oyelowo, star of prestigious movies like Selma and the newly-released A United Kingdom, has called on the British film industry to expand its efforts for increased diversity.
The 40-year-old actor was delivering the keynote address at a symposium organised by the BFI Southbank in order to mark the start of the Black Star season celebrating the contributions of black actors to the British film industry.
However, Oyelowo argued that the sense of progress the industry had made needed to be accelerated, particularly pushing for more historical and period pieces that show Britain “how it became what it is,” reported Contactmusic.
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“People of colour have been expunged from Britain’s history. One of the best ways to illustrate how integrated we are historically is to have a piece of entertainment that people can also learn from while they are watching it. That is why I am hellbent on period drama: we need the context so we can build, and then go on to grow,” Oyelowo said.
Speaking about his experiences of trying to break into the industry as a young man, he recalled his experiences with fellow black actors.
“We have sat there together, we have prayed together, we have scratched our heads together, we have felt displaced together, we have felt abandoned together. They are still here. I felt I had to leave.”
Meanwhile, David Oyelowo is pleased his new film “Queen of Katwe” shows Africa in a positive light. The 40-year-old British-Nigerian star plays chess coach Robert Katende in the Disney movie, based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, an impoverished Ugandan teenager who became a chess champion.