Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for AFI

Cynthia Erivo, star of 2019's Harriet, turned down an invitation to sing at the British Film Academy's annual award event after seeing a nominations list that she told the Associated Press "wasn't representative of what we saw this year in film at all."

The Black British actor was snubbed despite other nominations of her work by other organizations.


Erivo was left out of BAFTA's Lead Actress award category despite her well-reviewed portrayal of American Abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman and a Lead Actress nomination at the 2020 Golden Globes,

She told AP:

"I have a responsibility to represent women of color and people of color in film and TV, and to perform ... to celebrate something like that, that way, didn't feel right."

See the full interview below.

Cynthia Erivo: BAFTA 'need changes' youtu.be

Erivo represents a powerful young talent using her platform to make a powerful statement.

The actress snagged a Tony, Emmy and Grammy for her performance in 2015's Broadway revival of The Color Purple. Undoubtedly, the performer was a hoped-for part of the entertainment at the British Film Academy's big night.

In declining BAFTAs invitation, Erivo chose instead to bring attention to an inequality that has dogged most award shows long before this and continues to do so.

We all remember the large public outcry during the 2015 and 2016 Oscar's, where countless people felt it was time to call out the Academy Awards' non-representative nominee list.

This tweet, nearly 5 years ago, kicked off the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag that got some serious traction at the time.

Evidently, Erivo isn't impressed with BAFTAs failure to learn from the past.

Plenty of folks on Twitter apparently feel the same way.




In a strange piece of irony, Cynthia Erivo—picking up a Best Actress nomination—was one of very few Black performers included in the 2020 Academy Awards, which—again—are being called out with the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag.

Only time will tell what similar statements will be made by invited performers as the Oscars draw nearer.

Erivo can be heard on the Broadway cast recording of The Color Purple which also features Jennifer Hudson and Danielle Brooks, available here.

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