Chiwetel Ejiofor is best known to many audiences for his Academy Award-nominated turn as Solomon Northup in 12 Years A Slave. Now, the actor is proving how versatile he is with his role as the villainous Scar in Jon Favreau’s CGI/live-action adaptation of the Disney classic, The Lion King.

In an interview alongside Alfre Woodard with Robin Ayers for Shadow And Act, Ejiofor discussed the cultural significance of the Disney classic.

“There’s still a long way to go when we have to have the conversation about Black people being cast in a film that’s set in Africa,” he said. “That indicates how far away we are from a point where things are just a given and diversity is just part of the conversation, and that every member of our society has the right, the absolute right, to see and feel themselves respected and represented in all forms of media.”

Ejiofor also brought up one point that is rarely discussed: the fact that Black people have always been some of the biggest advocates for inclusion in media, often playing a pivotal part in the inclusion of other marginalized groups in the process.

“But it’s not just about our representation as Black people,” he said. ” I’ve always felt that the Black people been at the frontline of representation, that then has included other groups as well.”

The Lion King opens in theaters on July 19. Watch the rest of Ejiofor’s interview below.


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Photo: Shadow And Act