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David Oyelowo Defends British Actress Cynthia Erivo Playing Harriet Tubman



David Oyelowo has a message for those who take issue with Black brits playing African American roles.

While speaking on The Red Pill Podcast, Oyelowo shared his thoughts on the topic — specifically the controversy over British actress Cynthia Erivo playing African-American slave hero Harriet Tubman … he made some valid points.

Oyelowo argued that white actors are never questioned when they choose to play characters of different nationalities so why are Black folks.

“Should Rami Malek not have played Freddie Mercury? Should Meryl Streep not have played Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady?” he said to host Van Lathan.

“Rami Malek doesn’t have to deal with this; Christian Bale is never going to have to with this in playing Dick Cheney. Daniel Day-Lewis will never have to answer this question in playing Lincoln.”

Christian Bale and Daniel Day-Lewis are both British actors, while Rami Malek is American – Freddie Mercury was British.

Now one could say the British actor was just defending the home team, but Oyelowo also experienced backlash for his casting as Martin Luther King Jr. in the Oscar-winning film “Selma.” He told Lathan that he also felt  there’s a “fight for the scraps” mentality in the black community that divides fellow actors instead of bringing them together.

“If she [Erivo] goes on for that film to be a huge success and then she wins accolades for it and all of that, that conversation will only get bigger and this is where in my opinion, we’ve been killing ourselves.”

The debate around the Tubman movie is that critics think it’s a slap in the face to not have an African-American woman in a role that has so much cultural significance. Then there’s those old tweets that surfaced where Erivo made disparaging remarks mocking how african american’s speak.

The Tony Award winner addressed the controversy in an Instagram post back in 2018, but not those tweets.

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