British actor and comedian Sir Lenny Henry took a shot at Will Smith for not staying true to his race during a recent interview with the UK’s Sunday People newspaper. He also slammed the BBC for being “very very white.”
“If a movie makes more than a hundred dollars, some black people stop being black – they become Will Smith,” he told the newspaper when asked about diversity in the industry. He also joked the only person of color recognized in film during this year’s Academy Awards was the bear from The Revenant.
“Until writers and directors reflect what is happening they won’t represent us properly,” he continued to say.
“I worked at the BBC for 35 years before I had a meeting with anyone who looks like me. The only people like me were cleaning the corridors and that is not right. You walk into the Beeb and it is very, very white. That is not anybody’s fault. You can be in an oppressive institution and not be an oppressor. All the diversity work that has been going on is appreciated – but until behind the camera is sorted out you are not going to see much change. This is not personal. This is for people who get doors slammed in their face because it does not fit, or they are in a wheelchair, or they are a woman, transgender or gay.”
Clearly the problem with diversity in the industry isn’t over. Do you think he has a point? Sound off in the comments.