The team behind "Selma" has been outspoken about the parallels between the film, which chronicles Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1965 voting rights marches, and the events surrounding the deaths this year of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. David Oyelowo, who portrays King in "Selma," offered a nuanced take on those parallels during a HuffPost Live interview Tuesday.
The actor told host Marc Lamont Hill that King and his associates knew "the power of the image" was the only way to force change:
They knew that Selma was a place where clear injustices were happening in terms of voting rights, and they said, "Let's go down there, have the cameras rolling, make these people do on camera what they're doing behind closed doors," and Bloody Sunday happened, and that was the point beyond which voting rights went from being a black problem to an American problem. And the country rallied, and black, white, everything in between came together to put pressure on the government, and the law changed. I think we are in pretty much that moment right now. Ferguson felt to me and I think was being projected as a black problem. When people saw those images of Eric Garner being murdered, it became an American problem because it's indisputably wrong, what was going on there. And again we see this rallying now.
The problem today, Oyelowo explained, is that the power of the image is no longer enough to combat "the obstacles that we face as black people, as human beings, but particularly as black men."
Asked what King himself would bring to such a contentious moment, Oyelowo said the famed orator could succinctly express what needs to change in a way today's movement needs.
"What he would bring that I'm not quite hearing yet is he would bring brilliant articulation of the demands that we want met," Oyelowo said. "I think that obviously he presented and gave leadership that was otherworldly in its brilliance. My prayer is that we will feel and see that as well."
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