Idris Elba Questions Diversity in UK’s Media Industry: ‘Where Is the British Dream?’

Posted on Jan 20 2016 - 1:24am by Alani Polan
Idris Elba and David Oyelowo Honored by Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen approves

Limitations on Hollywood extend far beyond Beverly Hills.

Luther star Idris Elba shared his perspective on the entertainment industry’s diversity debate amid controversy of the white-dominated Oscar nominations in 2016. The actor addressed his concerns on the British front in film before members of Parliament on Monday, Jan. 20. (via BBC)

“We need to counter what everybody has, see the lay of the land and see who has which careers in TV. Who makes TV, and who is allowed on TV and when they get the opportunity which roles do they play, on and off screen.”

Elba questioned diversity further than the racial barrier by opening the discussion in roles for women, members of the LGBT community, among other minority groups. “You have to ask the question,” he continued. “Are black people normally playing petty criminals? Are women always the love interest or talking about men? Are gay people always stereotyped? Are disabled people ever seen at all?”

The actor reveals that aspiring actors from the UK approach him to ask advice on migrating to America to find success. “I’m always in a quandary because it’s not always true that the grass is greener,” he explains. “The reason I went to America is because the U.S.A. has the most famous diversity policy of all and it’s called the American Dream.”

“The problem is the gap between the dream and reality,” he posits. “To champion diversity is to champion the American Dream and it’s to say that, ‘Look. If you work hard and you have great talent, you have the same chance as anyone else to succeed.’”

“The guarantee’s no more than that, but that in itself is the golden guarantee. And that’s the guarantee that I want here in Britain. Where’s the British Dream?”

Jada Pinkett Smith announced that she will be boycotting the 2016 Oscars in protest of the Academy’s lack of diversity, and received backing from Spike Lee in solidarity.

Launch the gallery at the top of the page to see the biggest snubs and surprises from this year’s nominations.

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