David Harewood: “the #OscarsSoWhite phenomenon will have to reflect back on England”

The Homeland actor said that we need to see more black actors on the big and small screen


David Harewood has become the latest actor to weigh in on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.


In an exclusive interview with Radio Times, Harewood – famous for his role as David Estes in the hit TV series Homeland – discusses the lack of diversity in the Academy Award nominations. 

“What people are essentially saying is that they want to see more diverse stories,” he said. “It’s not about putting three black people in the back of the shot. It’s about making it normal to see a black actor in a leading role.” 

Harewood added that this is not just a problem for the United States, and that the UK also needs to work on reform.

“In England, you feel like a member of the revolutionary guard the minute you even mention race. But I do think the #OscarsSoWhite phenomenon will have to reflect back on England,” he said. “It still amazes me that Idris Elba is the only black actor in a lead role on British TV.”

In the interview, Harewood also revealed how before he was cast as Estes opposite Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, he nearly quit acting altogether. “Before Homeland, I had £80 in the bank and no idea what I was going to do. I seriously considered giving it all up and getting a job as a lorry driver.”

To read the rest of the interview, pick up a copy of this week’s Radio Times  available in stores and on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 16th February