Nathalie Emmanuel

Nathalie Emmanuel explains her “frustration” a year after George Floyd’s murder

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Game Of Thrones star Nathalie Emmanuel talked about the Black Lives Matter movement and the lack of diversity in big TV series during an interview on the Make It Reign podcast.

Today (25 May 2021) marks a year since George Floyd was murdered by a police officer who knelt on his neck for nine minutes. “I can’t breathe,” Floyd repeatedly told Derek Chauvin in a video recording of the incident, which was shared and watched by millions on the internet. It immediately sparked outrage and momentum in the Black Lives Matter movement – radical change clearly needed to happen. 

As people pay their respects and reflect on whether or not that change has happened over the last year, actor Nathalie Emmanuel has just recalled the “frustration” she has felt.

“There’s always going to be this little part of me that’s protecting my heart a bit because these things tend to be trends,” the Game Of Thrones and Four Weddings star said on the latest episode of the Make It Reign podcast. 

“You know, movements tend to be a trend and frustratingly we have seen the equivalent of posting a black square within the industry where it’s kind of performative and not actually real systemic change or real action.”

Game of Thrones' dracarys: Meaning of Missandei’s last words
Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei in Game Of Thrones.

Emmanuel also talked about the lack of diversity in TV and film, reflecting on being the “only long-running woman of colour” in Game Of Thrones

“It’s this idea that there can only be one, which is so ridiculous to me,” she said. “When she [Melisandre] died, everyone was like, ‘She’s the only woman of colour in the show and we’ve got to invest and grow, to love and learn about and she’s the only one!’ 

“I think that my death kind of sparked this conversation around why can there only be one? And when there is only one, how do we treat that person? How do we treat that woman of colour? How do we give her the respect that she deserves? I was really proud of the fact that her exit sparked this really important conversation, because it’s not just this show, it’s many shows.”

You can listen to the full interview on the Make It Reign podcast, available on podcast streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple.

To help support the anti-racism movement from the UK, take a look at these 17 anti-racism charities and organisations. Stylist.co.uk has also put together a guide on how we can all be better allies in the fight against racism. And you can find more information on the Black Lives Matter movement on the official website.

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Images: Getty, HBO

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…