Lenny Henry: We Need More Ethnic Minority Stars on Screen

Alison Little, Express (London), June 25, 2014

Actor and comedian Lenny Henry yesterday slammed the BBC’s £2.1 million plan to foster ethnic talent.

The corporation’s director-general Tony Hall announced a new “diversity creative talent fund” last week to help “fast track” shows by minorities.

But referring to 12 Years A Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba, from TV crime drama Luther, Mr Henry said: “They didn’t need more training, they just needed a break.”

Earlier this year, he complained that the number of ethnic workers in ­British TV had plunged by a third between 2006 and 2012 to just 5.4 per cent of the broadcast workforce.

He called for new laws and targets to reverse that decline.

Mr Henry told the Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport committee yesterday the UK had been hemorrhaging talent to America because of a mistaken belief that black ethnic minority actors “don’t have enough star power to drive a feature film or a long-running TV series”.

Talking about Mr Hall’s plan, he said: “Development is great but there are people absolutely trained and ready to rock.

“The inference seems to be ‘oh you’re not ready yet, here’s a little bit of development money, go away and practise a bit more until you’re ready’.”

He said the BBC blueprint had the greatest of intentions but was based on an old model that hadn’t worked.

He said: “Increased training and increased development funds do not deliver change but jobs do.

“Idris Elba did not need more training to be a great actor, he just needed a break. Back in the day when I entered New Faces (in 1975), I just needed a break.

“There is initiative fatigue. People have lost hope and don’t believe that one more initiative will achieve true diversity. Things are being done but they’re not really working.”

Mr Henry called for money to be earmarked specifically for ethnic minority productions and for the number of on-screen and production staff from minority groups to increase across all broadcasters.

Patrick Younge, director of We­Create Associates and former chief creative officer of BBC TV Production, told the committee that Mr Hall’s scheme was “well-intentioned” but was addressing the wrong part of the problem.

He said the £2.1 million was “tiny” and added: “It’s three episodes of Luther in terms of on-air spend.”

A BBC spokesman insisted later: “Last week we set out far-reaching plans that we believe will make a tangible difference. We will work hard to deliver them.”

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  • David Ashton

    Lenny Henry years ago was a fairly isolated comedian who represented a fairly benign face of immigration, ready to laugh at himself as well as whites. For some reason he has become a militant afracist. The liberal collaborators with the third-world occupation talk about TV “representing” the population on a pigment %age basis, but the black Caribbean/African segment is smaller than the brown Muslim segment, though it already dominates the “music” scene and “talent” competitions. When are our soaps going to get the appropriate %age of Urdu-speaking head-covered actresses? The whole thing is the usual PC racket by London’s white leftists to put the native population in its place.

    • MBlanc46

      We used to enjoy watching his program about the chef. I’m sorry to see that he’s become a hater.

      • IstvanIN

        I NEVER watch a Britcom that features an African. Defeats the whole purpose.

        • MBlanc46

          I can understand that. But it was my wife’s choice and it wasn’t that bad. And the character didn’t have a white wife (although I believe they did work in an interracial–read black man, white woman–relationship).

        • David Ashton

          You’ll have to go back to the good old days (pre-1980s) to be sure of that. Dad’s Army will last for ever. Our TV bosses now want to turn the long-running predominantly white vulgar sitcom “East Enders” into one more “representative” of ethnic London; it was based theoretically on my home borough of Waltham Forest, which was once a very pleasant white area and is now an Afro-Asian colony which harbored Muslim sky bombers and has half-a-dozen black “mandem” gangs.

  • Truthseeker

    Earlier this year, he complained that the number of ethnic workers in ­British TV had plunged by a third between 2006 and 2012 to just 5.4 per cent of the broadcast workforce.

    I really, really hate the use of “ethnic” as a standalone word to indicate “ethnic minority.” It implies that the majority group has no ethnicity. Of course they do! Native Britons are people too, with their own unique heritage and genetic makeup. This genericizing of the White race is the first step toward our destruction. If Whites don’t recognize that they are something, rather than merely not something, then they won’t see the ultimate dissolution of our people as an issue, should it ever come to pass. (For the record, I’m aware that “ethnic” is sometimes used to described European ethnic groups, but the principle remains. If you don’t embrace your identity, you’re already primed to have it erased.)

    • IstvanIN

      In America everybody BUT Whites are “ethnics”.

    • David Ashton

      The English are an “ethnic group” and England is our ancestral homeland.

  • JohnEngelman

    Movies present an unrealistically benign image of blacks. The only time I have ever seen a black physician was on the screen.

    • gemjunior

      You said it. Not just movies, but all media show them always benign, even holier-than-thou or should I say holier-than-us anyway. They are also way overrepresented for their 15% of the population.

      • Mrfinoni

        Agreed! they are way over represented. Can every white ethnic group make that claim?

    • MBlanc46

      You just can’t get away from the magic Negroes in the media. For the Fathers’ Day issue of the Sunday supplement that comes with the Chicago Tribune, the cover picture was a black guy. I can’t have been the only person who saw the pure propaganda.

      • JohnEngelman

        Fathers’ Day should be a source of embarrassment for most black “fathers.” They would rather be “a sex machine with all the chicks,” than an adequate parent.

      • r j p

        I didn’t catch that but would have laughed myself off my seat.

        I used to like to read the occasional Sun-Times for the legal ads of the women seeking to declare their children abandoned so they could get welfare. It’s where I learned the name Aquanetta (hair spray?) and developed my hobby of saving f’ed up black names to a notepad file.

    • IstvanIN

      Michael Jackson had a dark doc.

      • JohnEngelman

        Yeah, and just see how much good it did him.

    • r j p

      You don’t want to see a black physician.

      • AndrewInterrupted

        I saw one once. He wrote scrips real well.

        • r j p

          I saw a prominent black derm in Chicago once.
          She billed BCBS for a biopsy that never occurred.

          • AndrewInterrupted

            That’s funny. I did some temp work one summer (college break) way back in the 1980’s. There were about a dozen people hired by the state to document historical landmarks. We drove around in state vehicles taking pictures of various structures. There were two Black people in the group: a man and a woman. Jesus were they scammers. They had obviously been bilking the state for years on similar temp type jobs. The Black guy insisted on working alone. We later found out why. He would drive the car home, drive it into his garage, then drive off in his own car to his regular job at a factory! The woman was almost as bad when she constantly padded her timesheet, always with at least 10 hours of OT she never worked.

            Low IQ and entitlement is a toxic mix.

          • r j p

            Few years later I saw her pic on the subway.

          • MBlanc46

            There was a black dermatologist in Chicago that my stepfather saw in the ’50s when he had an infection that no one else could cure. He was quite well known in the profession. But blacks such as that are definitely the exception not the rule.

  • MekongDelta69

    Only blacks could complain even when people are throwing money at them (undeservedly).

    This ungrateful dummy doesn’t get the simple concept of ‘supply and demand.’
    What’s he going to do when nobody shows up to his blackfest? Round everybody up & make them go?

    • gemjunior

      Pretty much.

  • Lenny Henry = a nobody saying nothing.

    But because he’s black and he’s complaining he gets an article in a major British paper. You white Brits better not fall for this garbage. The purpose is to bait you into feeling guilty and give up even more of your humanity, your dignity, and your identity. Don’t fall for it.

  • gemjunior

    Oh God is there no place we can put our feet up and pretend we are alone? Is nowhere sacred or is there anywhere we can have a minute’s peace and ease? Without their continuous over-representation being reminded (lest we could ever, ever forget) of their all-important existence. Ugh. I need to find a clochan or beehive hut way out in the Skelligs to be away from them.

  • Katherine McChesney

    The comments on the original article are interesting. They’re like AMREN/London.

    • David Ashton

      Yes, he got worse after they left each other.

  • MBlanc46

    That’s right, Mr. Henry, use the police powers of the state to force more blacks on the British public.

  • Magician

    Well once again this confirms that U.K. is one of the most politically correct countries in the world….

    Well Mr. Henry, over here in America, black males are grossly overrepresented on TV.

    – In reality, blacks must be around 15% of the entire population but on TV it appears – 30~40% of all American population are black.
    – And there are about ten times more black men than black women appearing on TV. If the mainstream media wants to force us to see blacks, then at least have fewer black men and more black women.
    – Whenever there is an interracial couple on TV it is black male – white female.
    – And in the American mainstream media, each and every black male in this world is very well-mannered, have a graduate degree or higher, and is very family-oriented.

    • r j p

      Do you wanna see more black women on TB (sic).

      • Magician

        I do not mean I want more black people on TV

        I meant, I want just as many black men as black women on TV.

        • r j p

          30+% of TB will be black then.

    • Dirk_Pitt

      Funnily when I watch cop shows like castle or whatever the criminals are never black. Black police chief though.

  • The Final Solution

    My favorite show starring black people is Cops.

    • Jefferson

      I am also a fan of the ghetto hood films from the 1990s which paints a more realistic image of Black Americans.

      But due to the extremely politically correct environment we live in today, Hollywood no longer cranks out urban inner city films like Menace To Society and New Jack City which portrays Blacks in a very negative light.

      Now Blacks must all be portrayed as MENSA IQ geniuses in Hollywood films.

    • r j p

      Cops hyper-loads the show with Whites to protect itself.
      It knows who commits crime in AmeriKa.

    • PesachPatriot

      Bait Car and Hardcore Pawn are pretty good ones too…

    • Brian Cooper

      I agree with you. I am amazed at how quickly these black stars of Cops can come up with the most stupidest explanations of how the drugs were in their pockets etc etc, and I love when they swear on their mothers lives that they are telling the truth, but those raycist white coppers just don’t believe them. That show is a hoot.

  • Dr. Möbias

    “Talking about Mr Hall’s plan, he said: “Development is great but there are people absolutely trained and ready to rock.”

    Then let them provide the seed money, market their ideas, provide the equipment and technology and take the risks involved instead of expecting everything to be done for them.

    Do it yourself, start your own networks for your own people like BET or shut up.

  • Ngati Pakeha

    I’ve really given up trying to understand you Lenny. And I’m slightly ashamed to have once considered myself a bit of a fan of yours. You have made yourself an extremely comfortable living off the backs of Whitey as let’s be honest here Lenny that is where most of the gravy comes from. What you didn’t get your share? You’ve made ten times the money most of us will make in several life times. Let me guess you’ve blown the lot and need some more? People like yourself, and don’t worry I put some of your libtard white mates in the same basket, can’t help but to bite the hand that feeds you.

  • ThomasER916

    We need to deport all non-Whites.

  • Lagerstrom

    Maybe, but he had some good material ages ago. But he just had to turn into a professional negro activist, didn’t he.

  • maxonepercent

    Is there a law in the UK that states that the main character of every TV show has to be black? The UK is a country that is 90% white but 90% of the main characters on TV shows are black

  • My favorite nonwhite actor was Toshiro Mifune. He played in lots of samurai movies, and did Admiral Yamamoto in “Midway”. He also played as Tokugawa Iyasu in “Shogun”. I’m sorry he is gone.

  • Dr. Cramden

    All white people have been betrayed, specifically by self hating whites who are mentally deficient.

  • Dirk_Pitt

    His whole career is the joke. He has never been funny. His entire routine was I’m black and my mother was so strict..I’m black white folks all be scared etc etc or just making funny noises. Very child like ‘humour’.

  • Dr. Cramden

    The British need to have genuine British on TV and remove the trash.

  • MBlanc46

    I thought that the Vicar character was bit overdone, but the rest of the cast was delightful. On the program of his that we saw, he seemed to be more of the straight man than anything else.

  • David Ashton

    It certainly has not been overexposed in recent years. I was not the only English teacher in the 1980s instructed to get rid of Dead White European Males from the curriculum – instruction ignored.