WASHINGTON WATCH: Actor David Harewood Discusses The Difficulties Black Actors From The UK & US Face (VIDEO) | Roland Martin Reports

WASHINGTON WATCH: Actor David Harewood Discusses The Difficulties Black Actors From The U.K. & U.S. Face (VIDEO)

David Harewood is a black, English actor starring in the Showtime series “Homeland,” but he says the problems faced by black actors in England are the same as the problems faced by black actors in the U.S.

Harewood joined Roland Martin on Washington Watch to discuss this and the origins of the Harewood name.

 MR. MARTIN: David Harewood is a black, English actor starring in the Showtime series “Homeland,” but he says the problems faced by black actors in England are the same as the problems faced by black actors in the U.S.

[BEGIN INTERVIEW WITH DAVID HAREWOOD.]

MR. MARTIN: You’ve previously done interviews where you talked about the difficulty of landing roles in your home country. So, talk about that because we see Idris Elba. We see other folks out there who – who are – who are getting various roles, but what you – what Americ- — what African-Americans face in Hollywood here, you say you – you face this exact, same thing in the UK.

MR. DAVID HAREWOOD: Yes, we do and, obviously, I think the business is much bigger here, so there’s a lot more opportunity. That’s – which is why many – not just black Brits, but many Brits tend to find that they have to leave England to kind of seek a bit better roles, the more complex roles here in America. I mean I, for one, have been trying to get here for I’d say about five or six years. And every time I come here, I’m just staggered by the – just the amount of work there is here, the amount of – the amount of characters there are to play. And it’s – it’s a – it’s a great draw for – for British actors, and it – it’s just – it’s just very difficult to get tho- — those more complex roles in – in the UK, because, I think [they’re] sometimes a little bit two-dimensional – or, even one-dimensional. And I just find that the characters here are just – just a bit more rounded and more grounded.

MR. MARTIN: There’s a very interesting story about the origins of your last name, Harewood. So, share it with our audience.

MR. HAREWOOD: Yes. Well, the Harewood name came from Barbados. My – my – the – the lord – Lord – Lord Harewood [pronounces it “Harwood”] – I say “Harewood,” but some people say “Harwood.” And Lord Har[e]wood was – was a – a very, very wealthy plantation owner in – in Barbados. And the abolition of the slave – the ab- — the abolition of the slave trade, all the slaves on the property would take the last name of your owner –

MR. MARTIN: Right.

MR. HAREWOOD: — as it were. And so that’s where the Harewood name came into, kind of, my family – or –

MR. MARTIN: Right.

MR. HAREWOOD: — my great-great-great grandfather, who was called “George Harewood.” And so that’s where the – that’s where the name came into the family.

MR. MARTIN: So, do y’all hook up at family reunions?

MR. HAREWOOD: We do. We try to. In fact – in fact, what – what they did is – in this documentary is they – they put a – an advert in the paper, and it was basically saying would – would all the Harewoods in Barbados, when – would – would we all meet –

MR. MARTIN: Right.

MR. HAREWOOD: — in this beach bar.

MR. MARTIN: Right.

MR. HAREWOOD: And it was staggering, because about 50 people turned up. And – and none of them kind of – we – we didn’t know each other, but because we all had the name Harewood, we were all basically – we all realized that, basically, somehow we – at – we – there was – there was a connection there between – between us all. And we showed them pictures of this fabulous house in Leeds called Harewood House – Har[e]wood House. And, you know, many – many of them thought they could make a claim for it because, obviously, they –

MR. MARTIN: [Laughs.]

MR. HAREWOOD: — their ancestors must’ve worked extremely hard to build it.

[END OF INTERVIEW WITH DAVID HAREWOOD.]