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Saturday 17 February 2018

John Boyega 'really sorry' for any confusion over diversity comments

John Boyega was honoured at the Screen Nation Awards
John Boyega was honoured at the Screen Nation Awards

Star Wars actor John Boyega has said he is "really sorry" for any misunderstanding over a comment he made about diversity at the Screen Nation Awards.

The diversity issue overshadowed this year's Academy Awards and has sparked a continuing debate about the lack of screen roles for black and minority ethnic (BAME) actors.

"To complain about what is going on is not going to benefit us. It is not," Boyega said after being awarded the male performance in film accolade.

"Be the change you want to be," the 24-year-old stated in his acceptance speech.

"Be the change. And continue and focus. Thank you so much."

In a series of tweets on Sunday morning, the Londoner explained his position and apologised if he had offended anyone.

He was, he said, "full of emotion" at the time.

"Regarding my comments at the Screen Nation Awards (just to clarify) I am not saying that complaints are invalid or should not be heard," he tweeted.

"I am saying that words without action can't help right now. I agree that we need to be heard, but some do the talking and no work."

He added: "I was full of emotion receiving the award and just wanted to say that there was work to be done.

"I'm not in this position without the people that champion me. I was in Peckham struggling not too long ago. I'm not above anyone," he said.

Boyega, who won a Bafta for his The Force Awakens role as Finn, continued: "Really feel bad for not clarifying and quite fearful that I've (sic) mislead many. Not about respectability tactics. I'm really sorry X".

Most of the followers on his official Twitter account tweeted their support.

"I personally thought it was a great speech, and a good message for anyone. Class act," one person posted.

But another disagreed: "T here are great black actors that have 'worked hard' that spoke up about this. He needs to choose his words more carefully."

The Screen Nation Awards, which took place in London on Saturday night, recognises emerging and established BAME talent.

Hosted by BBC London News arts correspondent Brenda Emmanus alongside comedian Kojo, the night saw Idris Elba's Beasts Of No Nation walk away with the favourite West African International film award.

The male and female performance in TV award went to actors who starred in Sir Lenny Henry's BBC drama Danny And The Human Zoo.

Newcomer Kascion Franklin was lauded for his portrayal of Danny Fearon, based on the Comic Relief comedian, and Cecilia Noble stole many scenes as Danny's mother.

This Morning's Alison Hammond was the recipient of the favourite female TV personality award, while former EastEnders actor Chucky Venn took home favourite male TV personality.

Among other Screen Nation Awards winners, E4's Chewing Gum was awarded favourite comedy production and BBC's The Interceptor won the diversity in drama production award.

The diversity in factual production award went to BBC2's acclaimed Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners.

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