David Oyelowo: I’ll never “play the black best friend”

"You can feel when it's literally an after thought, when its 'quick lets get some colour in here,'" says the Selma star


David Oyelowo has said that he turns down any acting role which stereotypes “what it means to be black.”


The Selma star told NPR that he refuses to take on roles that are defined by being the lead character’s “black best friend.”

Asked what kind of roles the actor simply won’t play, the Butler actor replied,”Roles that basically feed into a kind of stereotype of what it means to be black. Don’t send me your script if you want me to play the black best friend, I just wont do that.”

“You can feel when it’s literally an after thought, when its ‘quick lets get some colour in here.’ That I won’t do because it’s disrespectful and for me, I’m either part of the solution or part of the problem.

“I won’t do roles that I deem to be stereotypical or caricatures of what it is to be black, or even just to be a human being.”

Oyelowo received a Golden Globe nomination for his part in Selma and is year, he’s moving to TV for one-off HBO drama Nightingale which has already won him a Critics Choice Award. He’ll also be starring opposite Kate Mara in crime drama Captive, and he’ll also be playing Nina Simone’s personal assistant in the biopic Nina.


He is currently filming a Ugandan chess drama, Queen of Katwe, with Lupita Nyong’o and will take the lead in A United Kingdom with Rosamund Pike. In the film, which is based on a true story, Oyelowo will play Seretse, heir to the African throne of Botswana, who created a sensation in 1948 by engaging in a whirlwind romance in London with Williams, a white English office worker he married.