Over 3,500 UK actors and creative talents including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Noel Clarke, David Oyelowo, Meera Syal, and Gurinder Chadha have signed an open letter calling for equal opportunity and appreciation for BAME talent at every level of the industry.
The letter, which was inspired by the Black Film Collective’s letter to Hollywood, read: “As one extended community, we require your active engagement to tackle structural and systemic racism in our industry, in the UK and around the world.
“While messages condemning racism and advocating for solidarity on social media may inspire hope, the UK Industry must put its money and practices where its mouth is.
“A direct line can be drawn from the stories and voices that are silenced and ignored, to the discrimination and biases that are pervasive in the entertainment industry and larger society. This moment in history presents an opportunity for you to be a positive partner for change.”
The actors called on the industry to “banish weak excuses” for dismissing stories that do not centre around white people and not wanting to take the risk on people of colour. “There is room for more than one. You make countless projects with similar themes and storylines with white creatives.
“We know that many of our stories feel unfamiliar to you because they go against your preconceived notions of us and make you step outside your familiar world. But they are familiar to us.”
The letter pushes for the industry to “empower those who need it” and give the same opportunities to black and brown talent as is given to white.
“Your messages in support of Black Lives Matter are a first step. But after decades of enabling racism in your ranks and beyond, it is time to do more.
“If Black lives really matter to you, our stories must as well. Please help us tell the whole truth. Black and Brown lives all over the world depend on it.” The letter concludes.