Selma's MLK Jr.: Hollywood Is Reluctant to Have a Black Protagonist

Selma's MLK Jr.: Hollywood Is Reluctant to Have a Black Protagonist

David Oyelowo on Dr. King's sacrifice and racism today.

Published January 5, 2015

David Oyelowo is definitely an actor to watch in 2015. His breakthrough role as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay's Selma has earned him a Golden Globe nod and an Oscar nomination seems imminent. We sat down with Oyelowo to talk about the lessons today's youth can learn from Dr. King.

Despite all the accolades bestowed on Oyelowo today, he claims that racism still shows up in his life. "It's so difficult, even today, to get ahead in Hollywood," he says, pointing out the film industry's biases and prejudices. "I truly believe one of the reasons why it has taken so long to get a story about Dr. King in which he is the main protagonist to the screen is that there is a resistance to showing Black protagonists in their own stories being heroes and driving the narrative."

As for how playing Dr. King changed Oyelowo's outlook on life, he says, "It taught me what love actually is. Love is sacrifice."

To see more of Oyelowo's thoughts on Ferguson, Eric Garner and Oprah Winfrey, watch our exclusive interview below. Plus, click here to see Oyelowo's co-star Tim Roth recall working with Tupac on Gridlock'd.


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(Photo: Paramount Pictures)

Written by Evelyn Diaz

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