Idris Elba diversity

Idris Elba urges greater diversity in British media

In the wake of the Oscar diversity controversy, Idris Elba has weighed in on the diversity debate in the entertainment industry – and he says Hollywood isn't the only place where minority stars come up short. In an address to MPs in Parliament, the actor called for greater diversity in media, both in front of and behind the camera.

Speaking on how many actors decide to work abroad, he described the American Dream as “the most famous diversity policy of all.” He continued: “The problem is the gap between the dream and reality.”

Elba said the roles available to him in the U.K. paled in comparison to the ones in the U.S., where he worked as a young actor. Had he stayed in the U.K., Elba said, he would have been stuck playing “cop sidekick parts” and “best friends.”

However, the Golden Globe-winning actor said that there are some ways that Britain can emulate America’s approach – to a point.

“This is what every young British asks me – black, white, male, female – should I go to America to become a successful actor?” Elba said. “And I’m always in a quandary because it’s now always true that the grass is greener. The reason I went to America is because the U.S.A. has the most famous diversity policy of all and it’s called the American Dream.”

Watch Idris Elba’s speech below…