Cynthia Erivo refused to perform at BAFTA 2020 because it was ‘totally inappropriate’

Nigerian-British actor Cynthia Erivo has worked hard in recent years. She has been nominated for several awards for her lead role as civil rights pioneer Harriet Tubman in Harriet, including a sign for Best Actress at the 2020 Oscars. And with Hollywood slowly returning to work in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, she is set to appear in big roles such as legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin in National Geographic’s Genie series.

Cynthia Erivo attends 51st NAACP Image Awards on February 22, 2020 | Paras Griffin / Getty Images for BET

Cynthia Erivo has received numerous nominations for ‘Harriet’

Erivo’s last role to gain special attention was the 2019 biopic Harriet, which was the first film made about the pioneer abolitionist. For her outstanding performance, Erivo won her first nominations for a Golden Globe, a SAG Award and an Academy Award (for Best Actress and Best Original Song).

Erivo has previously won a Tony Award and a Grammy Award for his work in the Broadway adaptation of the iconic book The color purple. If she had won the Oscar in 2020, she would have moved closer to EGOT status.

British actress Cynthia Erivo arrives for the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 5, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California | Valerie Macon / AFP via Getty Images

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Cynthia Erivo was the only person of color nominated for an acting award in 2020

While Erivo has been praised for her role in Harriet, she was the only actress of color to receive the same praise in the same year. She was the only actress of color nominated at every major awards show in 2020, including the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Oscars and BAFTA Awards.

Erivo discussed the 2020 awards tour with supermodel Naomi Campbell in her web series No filter with Naomi.

“It was bittersweet,” Erivo said honestly. “It’s never as pleasant as it needs to be if you’re the only one.” She added that it was a shocking experience because black women and black men make up a large part of her team, so she is always surrounded by “family.”

“When you can’t look across the aisle, or you can’t look right or left and see other people like you, other women like you, other men who look like you, in the same art… You somehow feel like the only child, and I know that’s not true. I’m not the only one doing this job, doing a brilliant job, which deserves to be celebrated, ”Erivo continued.

“All this has given me is making sure that we continue to create spaces for other people, for other men and women who look like me and who look like me and work just as hard.” , admitted Erivo, which Campbell said is the mark of a “motivated person.”

Cynthia Erivo in 'Harriet'
Cynthia Erivo in Harriet | Courtesy of TIFF

Cynthia Erivo refused to perform at BAFTA 2020 in protest

At the time of the British Academy Film Awards 2020, they sought to address the lack of diversity at this year’s ceremony by asking Erivo to perform at the show.

“They asked me to play, and I thought it was totally inappropriate because of the way they nominated in all areas. There were no colored people anywhere. No black, brown anywhere in the actor categories, if any, ”she said. “And then being asked to play retroactively because people weren’t happy with it, it was like they were using me for entertainment. “

“It was as if they had ignored the work that had actually been done. I felt like they had used me as a pledge to right a wrong they needed to rightly right. And I didn’t feel like playing would help the cause we have, ”Erivo continued. “I didn’t think it would move us forward. I didn’t think it was a good example for us. I don’t think that’s the way I want to use my voice.

“What he has done is reduce the diversity that we ask for and the inclusion in performance,” she added. “And I didn’t think it was correct.”

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Cynthia Erivo refused to perform at BAFTA 2020 because it was ‘totally inappropriate’

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