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Cynthia Erivo Was Asked To Sing at BAFTAS Despite All-White Acting Nominees

Cynthia Erivo Was Asked To Sing at BAFTAS Despite All-White Acting Nominees

According to Variety, Tony winner Cynthia Erivo was asked to sing at the BAFTAs - despite the fact that the British awards show only nominated white actors in best leading and supporting actor categories.

Sources told Variety that Erivo agreed not to respond to the BAFTAs' December offer until nominations were announced. The awards reached out again today, after the all-white acting nominees were presented publicly. Erivo declined.

Erivo currently stars as Harriet Tubman in "Harriet." She has already been nominated for a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of the hero of the Underground Railroad.

"It's pretty shameful in this day and age, in 2020, when we're deep in the future that we still have to have reminders of diversity," sociology professor and author Michael Eric Dyson told Variety. "People of color are still invisible. They can do the heavy lifting, they can do the toting, they can do the tremendous acting, but they can't be recognized for their craft."

He also said the BAFTAs were complicit in reinforcing negative racial stereotypes.

"We want you to sing because you people can really sing," he said. "That's the reinforcement of the 'Mammy' stereotype if we've ever had one, a kind of artistic 'Mammy'-'Oh you're not good enough to be nominated for the tremendous acting that you do, but we want you to nonetheless sing for us, to perform for us. We won't recognize you for your talent, your gift, for your superior achievement, but we will exploit your undeniable genius.' That's an unfortunate index of the racial insensitivity that prevails in European and American culture."

Erivo made her Broadway debut reprising her starring role as 'Celie' in the critically acclaimed revival of "The Color Purple." She first played the role in 2013 at London's Menier Chocolate Factory and her performance on Broadway earned her several awards, including the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, a Grammy award as a principal soloist on original cast recording of "The Color Purple" (Best Musical Theater Album), a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program, the Drama Desk Award, Theatre World, and Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Additional theatre credits include: 'Puck' in the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream;" The Donmar Warehouse's acclaimed all-female production of "Henry IV;" the European premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical, "Dessa Rose;" the Perfect Pitch musical, "Lift;" Kneehigh Theatre's production of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg;" the UK tour of Jerry Zaks' production of "Sister Act;" Harry Hill and Simon Cowell's musical, "I Can't Sing," at the London Palladium; Simon Stephens' "Marine Parade;" John Adams' experimental song play, "I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky;" and Dominic Hill's "The Three Musketeers and The Princess of Spain."

Read the original story on Variety.


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