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Oyelowo: I’ll take Obama moment to the grave

Published 29/05/2015

David Oyelowo
David Oyelowo

David Oyelowo is still amazed his movie Selma made such a huge impact on United States President Barack Obama.

The 39-year-old actor portrayed legendary American civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in director Ava DuVernay’s 2014 historical drama Selma.

Selma was screened at the White House in January and David still can’t believe he shared personal time with US President Barack Obama.

“One of the most amazing moments in my life was standing next to President Obama as he read the Gettysburg Address from the original transcript in a glass case to myself and [Selma director] Ava,” David gushed to USA Today. “He read the whole thing. I will take that to my grave.”

British-born David has starred in numerous films recently which highlight America’s racial conflicts over time, including 2012 feature Lincoln and 2013 release The Butler.

So when President Obama recited the Gettysburg Address, a speech originally delivered during America’s Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the thespian felt moved by the historicity of the words.

“You have a black man as the leader of this nation. You have to open your eyes up to how we got here. Lincoln was 1865. Selma was 1965. I play a soldier in Lincoln who is asking the president for the vote. I do exactly the same thing 100 years later as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In The Butler, we look at 80 years of American history, from the early 1900s to President Obama’s ascendancy,” David noted. “Literally, my filmography has that 150-year chapter from the Civil War to today embedded within it.”

President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which freed millions of African-American slaves.

And David is touched his work brings the nation’s disturbing history to light for future generations.

“I was sent a beautiful [video] clip from a 10-year-old girl talking about the effect Selma had on her and the fact she didn’t know about these events,” he recalled. “It’s made her not only want to know more about them but to make the world a better place. I’ve always felt that film has the power and the ability to affect culture and elicit change.”

© Cover Media

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