Idris Elba On Diversity

On Tuesday 19th January, Idris Elba gave a speech in a committee room of the Houses of Parliament.

The acclaimed actor had been invited by Oona King MP to speak to MPs and representatives from the TV and Creative industries about diversity.

And how he did! Here are some extracts from Idris Elba’s speech:

" ... there’s a disconnect between the real world & TV world. People in the TV world often aren’t the same as people in the real world. And there’s an even bigger gap between people who make TV, and people who watch TV. I should know, I live in the TV world. And although there’s a lot of reality TV, TV hasn’t caught up with reality."

" ... I’m not here to talk about black people; I’m here to talk about diversity. Diversity in the modern world is more than just skin colour – it’s gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background, and – most important of all, as far as I’m concerned – diversity of thought."

" ... as an up and coming actor ... we were always asked to read the ‘black male’ character. Or ‘the athletic type.’ And that was just Crimewatch… But when a script called for a ‘black male’, it wasn’t describing a character. It was a describing a skin colour. A white man – or a caucasian – was described as ‘a man with a twinkle in his eye’. My eyes may be dark, but they definitely twinkle! (Ask the Mrs…)"

" ... The Britain I come from is the most successful, diverse, multicultural country on earth. But here’s my point: you wouldn’t know it if you turned on the TV. Too many of our creative decision-makers share the same background."

Read the transcript of Idris Elba’s speech in full here.

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