Idris Elba Says Hollywood's Growing Diversity Crisis Isn't Just an American Problem

"I went to America because I was running out of parts," Elba said.

Since the nation was sadly reminded (once again) that the Oscars are in fact so white, a growing number of voices have started to use their respective platforms to kick off a much-needed debate regarding diversity. Spike Lee, calling this year's nominees "another all-white ballot," promptly announced a boycott. Jada Pinkett Smithdid the same. George Clooney, a frequently outspoken critic of the industry's shortcomings, told Variety that Hollywood is actively "moving in the wrong direction" with regards to actually representing its audience.

But what about the international discussion?

Idris Elba, star of Luther and should-be James Bond, tackled this issue during a recent speech to Houses of Parliament. "I never saw myself on TV," Elba said of British television opportunities, according to the Guardian. "I stopped watching TV. Instead I decided to just go out and become TV."

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In Elba's words, America is slightly ahead of Britain in terms of actually providing opportunities for all, though such a technicality certainly shouldn't pause the #OscarsSoWhite debate. "I knew I wasn’t going to land a lead role," Elba said. "I knew there wasn’t enough imagination in the industry for me to be seen as a lead. In other words, if I wanted to star in a British drama like Luther, then I’d have to go to a country like America."

The movement for greater diversity and accurate representation in cinema, thankfully, would appear to be gaining some international traction ahead of the much-maligned Oscars, now just weeks away. Early Tuesday afternoon, Rev. Al Sharptoncalled for a full-blown boycott of the event in the wake of the growing #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

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