Force Awakens star John Boyega clarifies diversity speech at Screen Nation awards
Shortly after winning a Screen Nation award on Saturday and speaking out about diversity in film, John Boyega took to Twitter to clarify and expand on his comments.
The star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens won best male performance in film at this year’s Screen Nation Awards, which honor diverse talent in U.K. film and television, and in his acceptance speech, Boyega addressed the ongoing debate about diversity in Hollywood.
“To complain about what is going on is not going to benefit us,” Boyega said in his speech. “Be the change you want to be. Be the change, and continue and focus.”
Later, he took to Twitter to clarify his comments, saying that his intent wasn’t to criticize people who spoke up about diversity. He added that he was “full of emotion receiving the award and just wanted to say that there was work to be done.”
Diversity has been a hot topic in Hollywood after the 2016 Academy Awards faced backlash over a conspicuously homogeneous batch of Oscar nominees for the second year in a row. A recent study from the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California found that more than 70 percent of speaking characters in films in 2014 and TV episodes in 2014 and 2015 were white.