entertainment

Idris Elba calls for more gay voices on TV in brilliant parliamentary speech

2016-01-20
British actor Idris Elba has addressed Parliament to criticise the lack of diversity, a distinctive gender gap, and lack of gay voices in the British media, both on screen and behind the scenes. Calling it “the most important speech” he had ever made, the 43-year-old Luther star urged MPs to nurture talent and diversity within the creative industries in order to safeguard the British economy for future generations. “Diversity in the modern world is more than just skin colour,” he said. “It’s gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background, and - most important of all, as far as I’m concerned – diversity of thought. “Because if you have genuine diversity of thought among people making TV and film, then you won’t accidentally shut out any of the groups I just mentioned.” To illustrate his point, Elba pointed to popular television programs from the 1970s including the Black & White Minstrels, and Love Thy Neighbour, which the actor said were awash with “light-hearted racism”. “At the time, though, everyone thought it was absolutely fine to go along with it. The same with homophobia. The same with disability,” he said. Elba added his experiences as a young black actor had taught that him people commonly “get locked inside boxes”, and the film and television industry needed to “get outside the box”, in order to provide a stronger platform representing diverse voices, which he said needed to include gay characters and gay stories. “Audiences don’t want to see caricatures. Because the point about a caricature is this. You’ve seen it all before,” he said. “So I want our incredibly creative and successful TV industry to be more imaginative with the cultural exports we send around the world." You can watch an excerpt from his speech below, as published by AP, below: More stories: Man’s fitness monitor accidentally captures the moment boyfriend broke his heart Interview | Joe McElderry talks ‘Joseph’, body confidence, and why you won’t see him on Grindr