On January 19, film and television star Idris Elba gave a powerful and moving speech to the House of Commons of the British Parliament.
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) January 18, 2016
The speech was about the lack of diversity in British television and film, something which has been talked about across the pond in the United States, where the lack of actors of color among the nominees of the upcoming Academy Awards inspired the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
As Idris Elba, who is English, pointed out in his speech, the problem seemed to be worse in his homeland. "I didn’t go to America because I couldn’t get parts," he said, then added, “I went to America because I was running out of parts. The USA has the most famous diversity policy of all -- the American Dream. I want that British dream."
He also pointed out that he wasn't just there to talk about the lack of opportunities for people of all color, but he was also there to discuss members of other sectors of society who are marginalized on screen.
"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," he told the 100 members of Parliament who attended the event.
He then called for a 'Magna Carta' that would seek to address the diversity problem and curb its causes. "In a funny way, broadcasting needs a Magna Carta. We need to start doing things more fairly. It’s not so much a Peace treaty; more an Opportunity Treaty. We need to count up what everybody has, see the lay of the land, and see who has which careers in TV? Who makes TV? Who’s allowed ON TV? And when they get the opportunity, which roles do they play, both on and offscreen," he said.
For the whole speech, watch the video below: