Cynthia Erivo Won't Perform at BAFTAs After All-White Acting Nominees: I'm Not a 'Party Trick'

Cynthia Erivo has declined to perform at the BAFTA Awards after actors of color were shut out of the nominations

Cynthia Erivo has decided to not perform at the BAFTA Awards after an all-white nominations list.

The actress, 33, who was snubbed for her Golden Globe and SAG Award-nominated performance in Harriet, confirmed to Extra that she declined to perform at the British awards show.

“I felt like [the invitation] didn’t represent people of color in the right light,” she told the outlet. “It felt like it was calling on me as an entertainer as opposed to a person who was a part of the world of film, and I think that it’s important to make it known that it’s not something you throw in as a party trick, you know?” she continued.

“I work hard and every single person of color who is working in these films this year has worked really hard, and there are many of them who deserve to be celebrated,” Erivo added. “And no women directors, I was just like, ‘C’mon.'”

Cynthia Erivo
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Erivo stars in the film Harriet, portraying American abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman. Erivo was nominated for two Golden Globes: for best performance by an actress in a motion picture – drama, and for best original song – motion picture for “Stand Up.”

She was snubbed for a BAFTA Award when the announcement for the nominations was made on Tuesday. The awards show was also slammed for leaving out actors of color completely from its major acting categories.

Other actors of color who have gained critical acclaim for movies in 2019 and were snubbed by the BAFTAs include Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers, Asian-American actress Awkwafina for The Farewell, Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong’o for Us, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory, Eddie Murphy for Dolemite Is My Name, and Jamie Foxx for Just Mercy.

Awkwafina made history Sunday night at the Golden Globes after she became the first Asian actress to pick up a best actress win. The comedic actress did land a Rising Star BAFTA nomination.


The British Academy Film Awards nominating committee addressed the backlash shortly after the nominations were announced.

“We’d have liked to have seen more diversity in the nominations, it does continue to be an industry-wide issue,” BAFTA’s director of awards, Emma Baehr, told The Hollywood Reporter following the nominations. “I think more films need to be made, and entered, giving people a chance to see them. We’d absolutely like to see more diversity, but I also don’t want to take away from those celebrating today.”

The 2020 BAFTA Awards will take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Feb. 2.

Related Articles