Selma star David Oyelowo has some surprising thoughts on Benedict Cumberbatch and his use of the word “colored” to describe black actors.
The Sherlock actor came under fire when he used the outdated term in an interview, saying, “I think as far as colored actors go, it gets really different in the U.K., and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the U.S.] than in the U.K., and that’s something that needs to change.
“Something’s gone wrong,” Cumberbatch continued. “We’re not representative enough in our culture of different races and that really does need to step up a pace.”
While the point he was trying to make about racial inequality in the arts was a valid one, that message was unfortunately lost in the chatter about his use of the term “colored.”
Now Oyelowo has spoken out in his fellow Brit’s defense, which may be even more meaningful because A) he himself is black and B) he did play Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the year.
“In relation to Benedict it’s definitely gone too far in terms of political correctness,” Oyelowo said at the film’s European premiere in London.
“He was actually being very supportive of the likes of me, and other black actors and actresses — we do have greater opportunities in the U.S. in relation to the U.K. We use the term ‘people of color’ in America. Is that immensely different to what he said? I don’t think so. Just focus on what he was trying to say.”
Cumberbatch has already apologized for his slip, saying, “I make no excuse for my being an idiot and know the damage is done.”