I’ve worked in this industry for more years than I will admit to myself now. I have never been comfortable with the industry, one of my catch phrases to describe it is ‘it’s a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the UK’ to me this sums it up perfectly. I founded act up to combat this inequality and racism, yes I will say the word ‘racism’ in this industry. I didn’t make a song and dance about it, just put out and waited and we have always attracted everyone because we have just put out and waited. I like to think we have always been honest and open with everyone about what the industry is really like, some don’t want to listen and some have gone out and I have witnessed the prejudice they have faced.
Over the years we have met many, many incredible people and some are now doing brilliantly well in the industry but one thing that has remained constant is the prejudice in this industry. As I moved into producing, occasional casting and now working as an agent this has been shoved rawly into my face on many occasions.
I could write a book on things that I have witnessed, the things that I have heard and each time I will challenge and optimistically hope that things will change. I have been told to shut up on many occasions but I won’t because in any other industry there would be tribunals for the things that I have witnessed.
It seemed that things were progressing a decade ago but right now we have all taken a huge step backwards. I stretch my brain trying to understand why so many of the ‘powers that be’ cannot see what they are doing when they exclude so many actors because they don’t look like themselves, lets face it most people in ‘power’ in this industry look like me.. Caucasian and middle class. When they use words like looking for more ‘diverse’ actors or use the word ethnic like they have some superior stance over everyone that isn’t ‘White’… it makes me angry, it makes me upset but I have ploughed on because as I said, I am a big believer in hope and hope that things will change.
Of course they’re not going to until there are a hell of a lot more people in power that don’t look like me; more consideration for everyone that works in this industry and more awareness that all of us are in this game to entertain the public. If never ceases to amaze me that so many people forget that we are all here for an audience. And yes that audience isn’t always going to look like you or me.
So please, please, please stand up and protest against Yellow Face tomorrow, otherwise I ask you one thing, why are you comfortable working in such a prejudiced industry?