Samuel L Jackson says Hollywood needs to work on racism

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Photo: Francois Duhamel

Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson is concerned the popularity of historical drama 12 Years a Slave has distracted audiences from the racism that is still prevalent in modern America.

Steve McQueen’s film is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was captured and sold into slavery in the 19th century.

The movie is tipped for glory at the 2014 Academy Awards on March 2, after receiving nine nominations.

But while Jackson said he’s pleased at the response to the film, he’s also worried that it doesn’t portray the real issues of racism in America today.

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‘‘America is much more willing to acknowledge what happened in the past,’’ he told Britain’s The Times.

‘‘We freed the slaves! It’s all good! But to say, ’We are still unnecessarily killing black men’ - let’s have a conversation about that.’’

The Avengers star suggested that 2013’s Fruitvale Station, a film about the real-life events that led to the death of young African-American Oscar Grant at the hands of Californian police in 2009, makes more relevant points about the issues of racism.

‘‘It (Fruitvale Station) explains things like the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the problems with (popular police practice) stop and search, and is much more poignant,’’ he said.

Florida teen Trayvon hit headlines in 2012 when the unarmed black youth was shot by Neighbourhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman. The shooter was acquitted of murder in 2013.

-WENN