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Daniel Kaluuya from 'Queen and Slim' Says He Couldn't Get Roles in the UK Because of Color of His Skin

Claudine Varela
Jan 16, 2020
02:40 A.M.

"They didn't love me like they loved him," said British actor Daniel Kaluuya in revealing that he struggled to land roles in the UK due to his skin color.

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While many celebrate the proliferation of Black actors earning major roles in film, British actor Daniel Kaluuya says it was a struggle for him to get roles in the UK as compared to the US.

The star, known for his roles in “Get Out” and “Black Panther” opened up about how his skin color affected his chances of scoring roles in his motherland.

Daniel Kaluuya at the red carpet of the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in January 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

Daniel Kaluuya at the red carpet of the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in January 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

STRUGGLING IN HIS MOTHERLAND

Daniel sat down with The Times recently and spoke of his struggles carving his acting career in England. He revealed it was mainly due to his skin color.

“I was going for a lot of stuff [in England], But I wasn’t getting roles because of the color of my skin. It wasn’t fair. It was a trap.”

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Daniel cited one incident when he went through ten rounds of auditions to portray an alien. He was up against a white guy who was given an acting coach. “They didn’t love me like they loved him,” he recalled. The 30-year-old further explained that it wasn’t an isolated case for a white actor to have that privilege as opposed to a Black actor.

Daniel Kaluuya at the red carpet of the 90th Annual Academy Awards in March 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

Daniel Kaluuya at the red carpet of the 90th Annual Academy Awards in March 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

MAKING WAVES IN AMERICA

But that wasn’t the case when the Ugandan-rooted star shifted his focus to landing roles in the US where the thrived as an actor. In fact, the majority of his films are American.

Daniel’s story couldn’t come at a more opportune time...In fact, only less than a week ago, BAFTA was called out for its all-White acting nominations this year.

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He became a household name when he earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in “Get Out” and soon after made a mark in the critically acclaimed blockbuster, “The Black Panther.” His latest achievement is his performance in “Queen and Slim” which also earned rave reviews.

LACKING IN DIVERSITY

Daniel’s story couldn’t come at a more opportune time. Unlike the American award-giving bodies, the British Academy of Film and Television Awards has been criticized for its lack of diversity. In fact, only less than a week ago, BAFTA was called out for its all-White acting nominations this year.

BAFTA chair, Marc Samuelson acknowledged this and expressed his disappointment by telling Variety that there was an “infuriating lack of diversity in the acting noms.” He added that in spite of their desire to be diverse, it “continues to be an industry-wide issue.”

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EXPANDING HIS CAREER

Meanwhile, Daniel, who ironically won BAFTA'S 2018 Rising Star Award is expected to continue to make waves in the US with his upcoming project. He’ll be portraying Fred Hampton, the 21-year-old “Black Panther” activist who was shot by the Chicago police in 1969.

The actor is also reported to be branching out into production. In October, reports suggested he was set to produce the live-action movie for favorite children's TV character, Barney the Dinosaur.

Daniel's career may have started out with disappointments, especially in his own home, but he has proven that perseverance can get you somewhere. He's now a respected star in the British industry following his BAFTA recognition. But most importantly, he continues to pave the way for other aspirants who can't seem to get a break due to their skin color.

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