David Oyelowo Continues To Tell Important Black Stories With New Film About Gun Violence
David Oyelewo is using his rising star in Hollywood to tell important black stories, both fiction and non-fiction, and all rooted in deep, often dark histories of black people. The Selma actor will star in and produce Another Day In The Death Of America, based on Guardian journalist's Gary Younge's forthcoming book of the same name, in which "Younge investigated ten children, ages 9–19, all of whom were shot dead on the same day in 2013. The writer selected the date at random, and then searched for the victims' families to tell their stories." Following his stellar and moving performance as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Ava DuVernay's Selma, to say nothing of his other films, Oyelowo is telling important black stories in the film industry and bringing those crucial, erased narratives to life.
His performance as Dr. King and his subsequent snub at the 2015 Oscars was one of the moments that Oyelowo gained fame, although the latter being an unjust reason. His response, though, was perfect; when asked about Selma being shockingly left out of the nominations, Oyelowo had this to say on why black films are consistently discriminated against and not recognized by the Academy and other awards show at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival:
No, look, historically, generally speaking, we, as black people, have been celebrated more for when we are subservient, when we are not being leaders or kings or being at the center of our own narrative.
When #OscarsSoWhite again came into conversation in 2016, Oyelowo had strong poignant words: "For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable," the actor said in a speech at the King Legacy Awards in January.
Undeterred, Oyelowo is a one of many black actors, directors, producers and others in Hollywood who have decided enough is enough, among them his friend and collaborator, Ava DuVernay, who said recently that she is tired of the word "diversity" and wants stronger language to talk about the racism in the industry, like "inclusion crisis." Oyelowo's next slated film is an adaptation of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, co-starring Lupita Nyong'o, which will tell the story of a Nigerian couple throughout 20 years of their life as the immigrate to different countries, dealing with diaspora as well as their marriage.
Oyelowo won't stop telling stories any time soon, and Hollywood needs to recognize the difficult work he has done to bring these vital narratives to light.