This month Homeland star David Harewood has criticised the lack of opportunities for young black actors in the UK and advised them to head Stateside to find stardom.
He is not the only one: more and more black UK actors have begun to realise that they might never find work on the TV screens or theatre boards of their home country. Despite Afro-American actors often rightly complaining of racism in Hollywood and it’s lack of diversity, it still proves a haven for black UK actors.
Rufus Norris one of the UK’s top theatre directors recently told the BBC that the UK still lags behind the US when it comes to casting black actors. “In America, there is much more colour-blind casting,” he explained. “What we want to see is a more representative cast across the board in all dramas.”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Naomie Harris, David Oyelowo, Adrian Lester, Thandie Newton, Sophie Okonedo and David Harewood are the most prominent of the Brit actors that got their chance on USA TV. It seems strange that these very talented actors would fail all their auditions in the UK, but each and every one of them only got a part in their homeland, after their USA projects. They have to go beyond the extra mile to prove themselves. When they have a name they are bankable, if there is no name attached to a black face British TV thinks the ratings will plummet because the audience can not relate. The same is never said about a white face. More