Star Wars actor John Boyega has apologised for any misunderstanding over his comments about diversity at the Screen Nation Awards on Saturday 19 March. During the event, the up-and-coming star addressed the ongoing row over the lack of representation of black actors and minority groups on screen, a subject that became the defining controversy of this year's Oscars, with a series of people opting toboycott this year's ceremony.
"To complain about what is going on is not going to benefit us. It is not," he stated after picking up the accolade for for best male performance for his role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the night. "Be the change you want to be. Be the change. And continue and focus. Thank you so much."
In the early hours of Sunday morning however, the 24-year-old took to Twitter to further explain his comments, evidently realising that there had been some confusion over their meaning. Many people had believed that he was trying to suggest that people should not complain about a lack of diversity within the industry but Boyega voiced over his social media account that he was simply trying to explain that "words without action can't help" the situation as it stands.
"Regarding my comments at the screen nation awards (just to clarify) I am not saying that complaints are invalid or should not be heard. I am saying that words without action can't help right now. I agree that we need to be heard but some do the talking and no work," he tweeted.
"But I do agree! I didn't clarify. I was full of emotion receiving the award and just wanted to say that there was work to be done. I'm not in this position without the people that champion me. I was in Peckham struggling not too long ago."
The Peckham-born actor concluded the short series of tweets with an apology, finishing: "I'm not above anyone X love. Really feel bad for not clarifying and quite fearful that I've mislead many. Not about respectability tactics. I'm really sorry X."
The Screen Nation Awards, which takes place in London, recognises emerging and established black and ethnic minority talent, helping to encourage black film into the mainstream.
After his clarification, the majority of Boyega's followers tweeted their support for him, with many expressing gratitude for him clearing up his comments surrounding the lack of diversity. One Twitter user urged the young actor to "stop apologizing" adding that "most reasonable people would have known what [he] meant," while another stated: "Someone will always be lurking in the shadows to criticize your every word."
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