Image: "Selma" - European Premiere - VIP Arrivals

In an interview with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Selma star David Oyelowo opened about his recent Oscar snub and called out the Academy for only celebrating Black actors when they play “subservient” roles. Oyelowo thinks the reason behind The Academy’s race problem is the “fear of white guilt.”

“There is a fear of white guilt. So you have a very nice white person who holds black people’s hands through their own narrative … We don’t want to see that pain again, so you don’t really go into what that pain was in an authentic way,” said Oyelowo. “Both of those things are patronizing to the audience. You can’t have people curating culture in this way when we need to see things in order to move forward from them.”

We’ve just got to come to the point whereby there isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy—a notion of who black people are—that feeds into what we are celebrated as, not just in the Academy, but in life generally. We have been slaves, we have been domestic servants, we have been criminals, we have been all of those things. But we have been leaders, we have been kings, we have been those who changed the world.

Those films are so hard to get made. People have often said to me, ‘Why has it taken so long?’ I mean, [King] was assassinated almost 50 years ago. There has been no film where Dr. King has been the center of his own narrative until now. That’s because up until 12 Years A Slave and The Butler did so well, both critically and at the box office, films like this were told through the eyes of white protagonists because there is a fear of white guilt.

So you have a very nice white person who holds black people’s hands through their own narrative. We don’t want to see that pain again, so you don’t even go into what that pain was in an authentic way. Both of those things are patronizing to the audience. You can’t have people curating culture in this way when we need to see things in order to reform from them.”

Check out the full interview here:

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  • jcluvstrnity

    this coming from a man who married white? Hard to find any conviction in his words.