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Meryl Streep Responds to Diversity Questions: ‘We’re All Africans, Really’

Meryl Streep
Streep arrive for a photocall in Berlin John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Meryl Streep has joined the conversation about diversity in the film industry.

The three-time Oscar winner and 19-time nominee gave her two cents about the topic during the Berlin International Film Festival on Thursday, February 11, when a reporter pointed out that the festival had an all-white jury panel.

Meryl Streep
Streep at the 84th Annual Academy Awards. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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“This jury is evidence that at least women are included and in fact dominate this jury, and that’s an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions. So I think the Berlinale is ahead of the game,” Streep, 66, said, via the Associated Press.

Streep is the festival’s president. She went on to say how proud she is to be a part of such an organization. “I have absolutely no idea how to run a jury,” she said. “But I’ve been the boss of other enterprises, my family and various other things. So I’m going to learn by doing.”

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An Egyptian reporter then asked if she was knowledgeable about the movies that were submitted from Arab and North African countries. She replied: “I’ve played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures. There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all, we’re all from Africa originally. Berliners, we’re all Africans, really.”

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Streep’s comments come amid controversy over the lack of diversity in Hollywood and among this year’s Academy Award nominees. For the second consecutive year, nominees in the main acting categories are all white. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee are boycotting the ceremony. Other stars who’ve spoken out about the issue include Matt Damon, Lupita Nyong’o, George Clooney, Mark Ruffalo and Michael Caine.

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