Is the British film industry failing black people?

Chuka Umunna speaks out.

by Jennie Kermode

The British film industry is letting down black actors, said Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna in a speech to make the start of Black History Month. Arguing that there is a problem throughout the entertainment business, he said that the result is a shortage of role models that damages the confidence of young black people. He also said that stereotyping gives the impression black people can only succeed in sport, entertainment or music.

"It’s often only after they’ve made it big in the States that black British actors get more - and more varied - roles here," he said, citing Idris Elba as an example. "That is unacceptable and has got to change."

Umunna's comments come in the wake of an employment survey earlier this year which showed that 2,000 people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds have left the industry in the last four years - double the number that might be expected due to the impact of the recession alone.

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