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John Boyega apologizes over diversity comments

Actor John Boyega has apologized to anyone he may have offended with his diversity comments at an awards ceremony on Saturday (19Mar16).

The Star Wars: The Force Awakens star gave an emotional speech as he was honored with Best Male Performance in Film at the Screen Nation Awards in London, and told his fellow actors that actions speak louder than words when it comes to diversity in Hollywood.

"To complain about what is going on is not going to benefit us. It is not. Be the change you want to be," the 24-year-old said. "Be the change. And continue and focus. Thank you so much."

However, after one Twitter user asked why he had "generalised" the concerns of the black community, Boyega tried to clarify his comments.

"Regarding my comments at the Screen Nation Awards (just to clarify) I am not saying that complaints are invalid or should not be heard... I am saying that words without action can't help right now," he explained on Sunday (20Mar16). "I agree that we need to be heard but some do the talking and no work."

"But I do agree!," the London-born actor continued. "I didn't clarify. I was full of emotion receiving the award and just wanted to say that there was work to be done. I'm not in this position without the people that champion me. I was in Peckham struggling not too long ago. I'm not above anyone... Really feel bad for not clarifying and quite fearful that I've mislead many. Not about respectability tactics. I'm really sorry X."

His many Twitter followers echoed his sentiments, and sent supportive messages to the actor after his heartfelt apology.

"I personally thought it was a great speech, and a good message for anyone. Class act," wrote one fan.

The Screen Nation Awards recognizes emerging and established talent of African heritage in the entertainment industry.

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