Ir Lenny Henry questioned the lack of audience diversity at festivals in the UK, including at Glastonbury, when he called for better representation of minorities in British culture.
The 63-year-old Comic Relief founder – who rose to fame as the first black artist to perform on the controversial Black And White Minstrel Show – made his remarks ahead of the documentary’s release. new two-part series on Caribbean culture in the UK later this month.
Speaking to BBC Clive Myrie in an interview for Radio Times, he said: “It was interesting to watch Glastonbury and look at the audience and not see any black people there.
“I am always surprised at the lack of black and brown faces at festivals. I thought, ‘Well, that’s still a very dominant culture.’ “
His comments come as Glastonbury co-host Emily Eavis commented that it was “a bit late” for Stormzy to become the festival’s first black solo British representative in 2019.
Speaking in a new BBC Two documentary, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset, Eavis said: “He represented the black community in a predominantly white festival. and obviously it was a really important moment for us, but it was also a maybe a bit late. We should have done it before.”
Standard has contacted a Glastonbury representative for comment.
Airing on BBC 2 on June 22, Lenny Henry’s UK Caribbean will feature a host of well-known names in the arts including Sonia Boyce, David Harewood, Trevor Nelson and Benjamin Zephaniah share their stories and experiences of Caribbean culture in the UK.
Henry was born in Dudley in 1958 – a year after his parents arrived in the UK from Jamaica.
While he says the country has made great strides since his childhood in the ’60s, where he frequently experienced “common racism,” he told Myrie that there are still many what to do when it comes to ethnic representation.
He said: “It’s great to have David Olusoga on television talking about black British history that goes back to before Hadrian’s Wall.
“Somewhere the gatekeepers have changed, because now we are allowed to have you in Mastermind. But how long does that take?
“We still want more representation because we deserve it. We are British citizens, we are colonists. We’ve been in this country, we’ve grown up in this country, we’ve contributed, and many of us feel it hasn’t been reciprocated enough. That’s what this documentary is about.”