The Labour politician Chuka Umunna has called on Britain’s film and television industries to end the ethnic stereotyping which has forced Britain’s leading black actors to quit the UK for Hollywood to pursue their careers.
Delivering a speech on social mobility, the Shadow Business Secretary echoed complaints by David Harewood, the Birmingham-born actor who starred in the hit US series Homeland, who said there were no strong roles for black actors in Britain.
Mr Umunna said there was a lack of visible black role models to inspire young people. “One of the reasons is because our broadcast and film media have a tendency to stereotype black people: to present an image of black British people that suggests we can succeed in sport, entertainment and music, but not necessarily in other fields.”
He asked: “If I am wrong about this, then why do so many black British actors have to leave the UK for the US to get decent film and television roles that fall outside the stereotypes? Too many in the British film and television industries simply don’t cast black British actors in certain roles that fall outside those stereotypes.”