Glastonbury: Sir Lenny Henry discusses festival diversity

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Sir Lenny Henry made the comments ahead of the 2022 festival at Worthy Farm

Sir Lenny Henry has said it is "interesting" to see the apparent lack of black people in the audience at Glastonbury Festival.

The actor and comedian, 63, said he was also "surprised" by the lack of diverse faces at other UK festivals.

He made the comments while in conversation with BBC journalist and presenter Clive Myrie for Radio Times.

It comes as the event's co-organiser, Emily Eavis, said Stormzy's performance in 2019 was "a little bit late".

The daughter of festival founder Michael Eavis was speaking in a new BBC Two documentary.

The grime artist and rapper performed a headline set, becoming the first black solo British headliner in the festival's history.

Ms Eavis said: "He was representing the black community in a very predominately white festival and obviously that's a really important moment for us, but it's also a little bit late maybe.

"We should have probably done it before."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Stormzy headlined the festival in 2019 - but Sir Lenny has questioned the apparent lack of black audience members

Sir Lenny was discussing diversity and places where different groups do not mix when he said: "It's interesting to watch Glastonbury and look at the audience and not see any black people there.

"I'm always surprised by the lack of black and brown faces at festivals. I think, 'Wow, that's still very much a dominant culture thing'."

Glastonbury Festival has been contacted for comment.

The festival is held at Worthy Farm in Somerset and is finally celebrating its 50th anniversary after being delayed by the pandemic.

Sir Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish and rapper Kendrick Lamar have been confirmed as headliners.

Image caption,
Sir Lenny Henry said of his view of the audience that white faces were a "dominant culture thing"

Sir Lenny, who is fronting a two-part documentary about Caribbean culture in the UK, also addressed Mr Myrie recently becoming the first black host of long-running BBC quiz show Mastermind.

He said: "It's great to have David Olusoga on television talking about black British history that goes back to Hadrian's Wall.

"Somewhere the gatekeepers have changed, because now we're allowed to have you on Mastermind. But how long did that take?

"We still want more representation because we deserve it. We are British citizens, we are colonials.

"We've been in this country, we have grown up in this country, we've contributed and a lot of us feel it still isn't being reciprocated enough.

"That's also what this documentary is about. It's about that feeling of 'well, come on, I fitted in. Now what? I've integrated, now what happens?'."

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