Cynthia Erivo Turned Down Performing on the 2020 BAFTAs Because It Was ‘Totally Inappropriate’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Cynthia Erivo attends the 51st NAACP Image Awards, Presented by BET, at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 22, 2020

Nigerian-British actor Cynthia Erivo has been exhausting at work over the previous few years. She was nominated at a number of awards exhibits for her starring function as civil rights pioneer Harriet Tubman in Harriet, together with a Best Actress nod on the 2020 Academy Awards. And with Hollywood slowly getting again to work within the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s set to look in huge roles reminiscent of legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin in National Geographic’s Genius sequence.

Cynthia Erivo attends the 51st NAACP Image Awards, Presented by BET, at Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 22, 2020 | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET
Cynthia Erivo attends the 51st NAACP Image Awards on February 22, 2020 | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

Cynthia Erivo acquired many award nominations for ‘Harriet’

Erivo’s newest function to garner main consideration was the 2019 biopic Harriet, which was the primary movie made in regards to the trailblazing abolitionist. For her excellent efficiency, Erivo earned her first nominations for a Golden Globe, a SAG Award, and an Academy Award (for Best Actress and Best Original Song).

Erivo has already earned a Tony Award and a Grammy Award for her work within the Broadway adaptation of the enduring e book The Color Purple. If she had taken dwelling the Oscar in 2020, she would have been one step nearer to EGOT standing.

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

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Cynthia Erivo was the one particular person of colour nominated for an performing award in 2020

While Erivo was lauded for her function in Harriet, she was the one actor of colour to obtain the identical quantity of reward in the identical yr. She was the one actor of colour nominated at each main awards ceremony in 2020, together with the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Academy Awards, and BAFTA Awards.

Erivo spoke in regards to the 2020 awards present circuit with supermodel Naomi Campbell on her internet sequence No Filter with Naomi.

“It was bittersweet,” Erivo stated truthfully. “It’s never as enjoyable as it needs to be if you’re the only one.” She added that it was a jarring expertise as a result of Black ladies and Black males make up a lot of her group, so she’s all the time surrounded by “family.”

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

“All it made me want to do is make sure that we keep creating spaces for other people, for other men and women who look and sound like me and work just as hard,” Erivo admitted, which Campbell stated is the mark of a “driven” particular person.

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

Cynthia Erivo turned down performing on the 2020 BAFTAs in protest

When it got here time for the 2020 British Academy Film Awards, they sought to rectify the dearth of variety at this yr’s ceremony by asking Erivo to carry out on the present.

“They asked me to perform, and I felt it was totally inappropriate because of the way they had nominated across the board. There were no people of color anywhere. No Black, brown anywhere in the acting categories, if any categories,” she stated. “And then to be asked to perform retroactively as a result of the fact that people were not happy with that felt like they were using me as entertainment.”

“It felt like that they had disregarded the work that had really been executed. It felt like that they had used me as a token to proper a incorrect that they wanted to proper correctly. And I didn’t really feel like me performing can be useful to the trigger that we have,” Erivo went on to say. “I didn’t think it would move us forward. I didn’t think it was a great example for us. I don’t think that that is the way that I want to use my voice.”

“What it did is reduce the diversity that we’re asking for and inclusion to performing,” she added. “And I didn’t think that was OK.”

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