Rising star Letitia Wright ‘Black Actors need more positive roles’
Throughout David Oyelowo’s ‘Selma’ awards campaign trail (a campaign that was ultimately unsuccessful, unfortunately) he repeatedly banged the drum about the lack of opportunities for black actors- particularly in Britain. Using his moment in intense media spotlight he chose to talk about an issue many don’t like to hear.
Now it seems Oyelowo’s drum pounding has caught on and this topic refuses to go away.
Letitia Wright is apparently the ‘next big thing’. Well, at least that’s how the man who discovered Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Caton-Jones, describes her. Caton-Jones basis this bold prediction on her performance in his upcoming film ‘Urban Hymn’, a coming-of-age drama out later this year. Wright plays a young offender who discovers a talent for music in a story of hope and humanity set against a backdrop of the recession, high unemployment and the 2011 youth riots.
So undoubtedly, this is a big year for Wright, a young black British actress previously seen in TV show such as ‘Cucumber’ and ‘Holby City’. But, taking the baton from Oyelowo, Wright is using her position to try and help others. Speaking to The Guardian Wright called for “more positive” roles for black actors. “If it’s a character with flaws, great, but not just the negative stigma all the time,” she said, echoing the sentiments of many black actors and audience members.
Acknowledging one of Oyelowo big points- the bigger opportunities for black actors in the US- Wright says, “We need to change things here,” suggesting she isn’t giving up on the UK and moving to the US yet.
Born in Guyana and moved to London at age 7 with her mother, Wright has clearly already overcome some adversity in her life. So it looks like she’ll be well equipped if ‘Urban Hymn’ does lead her to superstardom and puts her in a better position to be an advocate for change in the UK. Finger’s crossed she does- we could always use more Oyelowo’s.
– Dylan Wiggan