baftas so white

Cynthia Erivo Turned Down BAFTAs Performance Over All-White Acting Nominees

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Actress and Tony Award–winning Broadway star Cynthia Erivo might have been invited to this year’s BAFTAs in February, but because no performers of color were voted onto the awards’ four acting categories, she won’t be attending them after all. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts drew criticism this week after it was revealed this year’s slate of acting nominees, specifically for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, are all white. Additionally, no female nominees made it onto the Best Director list. So, when she was asked to perform at the awards, the Harriet actress took a hard pass. Providing the entertainment at a show where no actors or actresses of color were being recognized, she explained, felt like she was being “throw in as a party trick.”

“I felt like [the invitation] didn’t represent people of color in the right light,” Erivo told Extra at the premiere of her latest show, HBO’s The Outsider. “It felt like it was calling on me as an entertainer, as opposed to a person who was a part of the world of film, and I think that it’s important to make it known that it’s not something that you just throw in as a party trick, you know?”

Continued Erivo, “I work hard and every single person of color who is working in these films this year has worked really hard, and there are many of them who deserve to be celebrated. And no women directors? It just was like, ‘C’mon.’”

Cynthia Erivo Rejects BAFTA Invite Over All-White Categories