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David Oyelowo pays tribute to ancestors when collecting OBE

HONOURED: Actor David Oyelowo and family at Buckingham Palace in London after he received his Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal at an Investiture ceremony

BRITISH ACTOR David Oyelowo paid tribute to his Nigerian ancestors for helping make Britain “great” as he collected his OBE at Buckingham Palace yesterday (Oct 11).

The United Kingdom star was honoured by the Duke of Cambridge for his for his for services to acting.

He told AP: "Being of Nigerian descent and Nigeria having been a colony, my country of origin, its resources and its people have contributed to the 'Great' in Great Britain and so, for me, to be honoured by Great Britain is something I value because of the contribution in terms of my African heritage."

The father-of-four added: "I am here accepting the award because I am proud of the acknowledgement and I am proud to be British. Every country has good and bad parts of its history, but the fact is that Britain is a country I am proud to be a citizen of."

CEREMONY: Oyelowo is made an OBE Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)) by the Duke of Cambridge

Oyelowo was the first black actor to play a king when he performed in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Henry VI in 2001, has since taken Hollywood by storm in recent years with stand-out roles in The Last King Of Scotland, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and lead in Ava Duvernay's Selma as Dr Martin Luther Jr.

Earlier in October, Oyelowo − who previously admitted that he had to leave the UK for America to find opportunities as an actor − called for diversity in film, insisting that action must be taken if change was to happen.

Speaking at the British Film Institute's (BFI) Black Star Symposium he said: "Don't pat yourself on the back because you made that black drama. Bully for you! That's not diversity, my friend."

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