Belfast Telegraph

Oyelowo makes Ferguson comparison

The British star of a new film about Martin Luther King and the US civil rights battles of the 1960s has drawn a parallel with recent events where black men were killed by police officers.

David Oyelowo finished filming Selma, in which he plays the legendary rights activist, just as two black men were killed by American police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York and the "world went crazy", he told the Sunday Times.

He said that both the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" attack on peaceful marchers in Alabama that is depicted in the film and the recent deaths were all "a clear injustice".

He told the paper: "In Selma, the issue was denial of voting rights for people of colour, especially in Southern states. And that was seen as largely a 'black' problem. 'That's something you guys have to deal with. It's states' rights.'

"But then those images of Bloody Sunday were transmitted to millions of people. Showing that to the country made it very difficult for [Lyndon B] Johnson.

"We have a similar situation now. Ferguson, I think, was seen as largely a 'black' problem - a predominantly black town where a black boy has been killed. But when Eric Garner died [in New York], it went to being an American problem again, because of the power of the image.

"That is a man clearly, indisputably, being killed by a chokehold - which police officers are not allowed to employ - on screen.

"Yet the man who did it is walking free, with no possibility of even being tried.

"That is a clear injustice. Bloody Sunday is a clear injustice. The issue in Selma was the denial of voter registration. The issue now is police reform."

Former Spooks and Royal Shakespeare star David was left disappointed after being widely-tipped to get an Oscar nomination for his role as Luther King in the film, which also stars fellow Brits Tom Wilkinson and Tim Roth, plus chatshow queen Oprah Winfrey.


From Belfast Telegraph