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Hollywood 'exile' for black actors worries British government

Published on Feb 25, 2014 10:49 AM
British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor poses with the award for a leading actor for his work on the film 12 Years A Slave at the Bafta British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House in London on Feb 16, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Black British actors have been taking Hollywood by storm, with Chiwetel Ejiofor's Oscar nomination for 12 Years A Slave just the latest example, but at home they still face a lack of roles that has driven some from the country.

The British government is now making efforts to change a situation that has seen the loss of major talents such as David Harewood, famed for his role in the CIA drama Homeland, David Oyelowo, who starred in the film The Butler, and Idris Elba, who shot to fame in the cop series The Wire.

"The media are still interested in ghettoising the presentation of ethnic minority groups within the UK", Mr Femi Oguns, head of the London-based Identity Drama School & Agency Group, which promotes young black talent, told AFP.

He said the civil rights movement in the United States had allowed Black Americans to "force change" but that in Britain "we have adopted a more passive approach".

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