As the conversation around the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominees continues, with Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs expressing her heartbreak and frustration, Golden Globe winner Idris Elba is taking the conversation across the pond. In a speech to Britain’s Parliament on Monday, he stressed the need for more diversity in roles for British actors.
Elba, who many believe was snubbed for an Oscar nom for his role in Beasts of No Nation, revealed that he went to America after realizing that he couldn’t play a lead role in a British show or film. “I was busy, I was getting lots of work, but I realized I could only play so many ‘best friends’ or 'gang leaders.’ I knew I wasn’t going to land a lead role. I knew there wasn’t enough imagination in the industry for me to be seen as a lead,” he said.
But race isn’t the only issue he was tackling—the action star stressed that diversity in film goes way further. “Diversity in the modern world is more than just a skin color. It’s a gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background, and—most importantly, in my opinion—is diversity of thought.”
While supremely charming, Elba was also admittedly nervous and stopped mid-thought to thank his audience—but that didn’t make him any less persuasive. “We ... haven’t done enough to nurture our diverse talent,” he told British Parliament. Here’s to hoping that by speaking out, this star will inspire major change.