“I Cannot Entertain a Dialogue About Should The Lead Character Be Black” Director John Ridley Sheds Tears While Refusing to Acknowledge Erasure Of Black Women In His New Series Starring Idris Elba

UK based news sites have spent the last 24-hours posting fictitous articles about the The UK Chapter of the Black Lives Matter organization confronting Indian actress, Freida Pinto, about her starring role in the upcoming Sky Atlantic drama, Guerilla. 

frieda-pinto-guerilla

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The Independent’s article headline reads:” Freida Pinto ‘reduced to tears’ after being confronted over ‘black erasure’ in Guerilla TV show.”

While the Sun’s article headline reads: ‘BLACK ERASURE’: Freida Pinto breaks down in tears after being attacked by Black Lives Matter activists who say she shouldn’t be in the cast of Sky’s new drama Guerrilla

Here’s what you should know.

  • UK BLM activists were invited to the screening and panel discussion  of the upcoming Sky Atlantic drama Guerilla, which tells the story of the Black Power movement in 1970s London.
  • The role of the lead actress in the series is played by Indian actress, Freida Pinto
  • During the panel discussion, a journalist, unaffiliated with the BLM organization, asked the panel why a Black woman was not given a lead role in a film about the Black Power movement in the UK
  • The creator of the film, and oscar-award winning dirctor, John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) became very visibly upset, and stood up to denounce any such accusation. Instead he spoke very emotionally about the amazing crew of actors, and his wife, who couldn’t be present. He talked about being in a mixed-race relationship, and that his wife is important to him.
  • During his oration, Frieda Pinto, became upset and wiped tears from her cheeks.
  • During the discussion is was pointed out that Asian author, Mala Sen, was very prominent in the movement, thus making the series historially accurate.
  • The questions from the panel discussion, according to reports online, were tame. One journalist asked: “My parents were a part of that movement [black power]. I want to understand why you decided [to make] an Asian woman the main protagonist.”
    “I understand the contribution of Asians to this, but having an Asian protagonist making all the big decisions… does that get explained in subsequent episodes? We can’t ignore that”
  • The comments left by viewers on Youtube seemed to echo the sentiments expressed by the journalist:

Below you can watch some of the panel discussion and draw your own conclusions about the propriety of the questions being asked:

Part 2 of the #Guerrilla Q&A see the previous tweet for the question. pic.twitter.com/BslAnAbhHs

— Melanin Millennials (@MelaninMille) April 7, 2017

Here’s the official trailer for the movie:


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4 Comments
  1. If this is a movie about black power movement..Then yes it should be a black person playing the part..I get the fealing that he thinks a black woman isn’t vood enough.

  2. I will not support the fraudulent history perpetrated on the screen for profit. Cast who you want and know that the hype will not redeem the lies told. Perhaps if all of those infuriated by this casting do the same, the conversation itself will be moot.

  3. It doesnt make sense to have an indian woman the symbol of black power. She should be involved but thats too much. If color is unimportant as its about “political black” as pinto said, then have the protags all white. It doesnt work. For instance Aint i a woman (quoted in prelude to ep3) was an anguished speech by a dark skinned black woman. They are more excluded than indian women in a shade/race biased world. This choice (and many journalist’s blindness to this) reflects racism: society’s inability to fully include full black people. It was also financial: pandering to racism as audiences still shun ‘too black stories’. I stopped after ep 2, very uncomfortable.

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