Sir Lenny Henry has said that being given a chance in the entertainment industry allowed him to help “break down barriers” for other people of color as he received the particularly coveted gong of recognition at the Awards. National Television.
He is a 64-year-old comedian and actor honored for his “pioneering career in UK television”, organizers said.
A video montage of his work over the years was played during Thursday’s ceremony at OVO Arena Wembley in London before Sir Lenny accepted the award.
Among those congratulating Sir Lenny for his achievement in the video was Hollywood star Whoopi Goldberg, who said: “I think Lenny is trying to make sure everyone feels that there’s a place for them at the table. this. So all I could do was tell him my fear. “
Arriving to accept the award, Sir Lenny shared his signature humour as he thanked the audience for standing up, saying he knew some were just trying to leave and joking that he would keep the speech. Briefly because the award ceremony was too long, David Beckham was still outside in line.
Reminiscing about his career, he said: “I’ve been doing this since I was 16. Back then we used to play ball in the park and I wasn’t usually chosen right?
“Partly because I love football but mostly because I don’t look like anyone else on the team. So I can’t play.
“But this is the problem of this industry – I was allowed to play.”
He continued: “I am a black man from Dudley who has to do Shakespeare. I’m a children’s TV presenter who sings with Kate Bush, and I’ve been cast on an outstanding team, one that has raised over a billion pounds for Comic Relief. Big to the comic relief team.
“Because I’m allowed to play in this industry, and people have seen me on prime time TV year after year, it has helped break down barriers and allow other people of color to do it. the same thing.
“I used to be an impressionist, a genie, a Brixton DJ, a chef, a pretend white guy, a weird miniature head on a Harry Potter wallet, a villain Doctor Who, a suspect in Broadchurch and now I’m a damn black, Irish Hobbit.
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“We can really do anything if we have the opportunity to do so, whoever we are and whoever we are. The best television allows us to walk a mile in other people’s shoes to understand their life experiences to feel empathy.”
Sir Lenny revealed that he is writing his own ITV drama series Three Little Birds about the generation after Windrush in the mid-1950s.
He said: “I hope the show will make you laugh and cry and understand how those men and women exchanged the sun and the sea for rain and cold. They are looking for a better place where not everyone is welcoming.
“We wanted to make a drama that shows what it takes to overcome great adversity. When we can relate to each other, it brings us together, right?
“This is the time for people like us to be together, to be allies, to tell all kinds of stories and to leave no one behind. I want to thank everyone who helped me get where I am. “
The comedian thanked all the people in the entertainment industry who have supported him throughout his career as well as the viewers who have followed him and his family and friends for their support.
Born in Dudley, Sir Lenny won the New Faces talent show in 1975 and started working in television at the age of 16.
He went on to star in numerous television shows including Broadchurch, The Syndicate, The Long Song and most recently The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power.
In 2016, the actor received the Bafta Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television and was knighted from the Queen at Windsor Castle in 2015.
He also co-founded the charity Comic Relief with filmmaker Richard Curtis in 1985 and founded the Sir Lenny Henry Center for Media Diversity at Birmingham City University.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/sir-lenny-henry-reflects-on-importance-of-representation-after-nta-win-42065849.html Sir Lenny Henry reflects on importance of representation after NTA win