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Meryl Streep clarifies 'We're all Africans' remark

Streep said her comments about whether she was familiar with cinema from Africa were “distorted.”

US actress and Jury President Meryl Streep, attends a press conference for 'International Jury' at the 66th annual Berlin International Film Festival, in Berlin, Germany, 11 February 2016. The 'Berlinale' runs from 11 to 21 February. Picture: EPA/KAY NIERTFELD.

LOS ANGELES - Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep on Thursday said her "We're all Africans" comment was taken out of context, writing in the Huffington Post about the controversy she sparked up amid Hollywood's ongoing diversity debate.

Streep, who earlier this month headed up her first international film jury at the Berlin Film Festival, said her comments to an Egyptian reporter during a press conference about whether she was familiar with cinema from Africa and the Middle East, were "distorted."

"I was not minimising difference, but emphasizing the invisible connection empathy enables, a thing so central to the fact of being human, and what art can do: convey another person's experience," Streep wrote.

The furor over her comments came amid an uproar in Hollywood over this year's all-white Oscar acting nominees for a second consecutive year, sparking the #OscarsSoWhite discussion.

The actress also added in the piece entitled Setting The Record Straight From Berlin that she was not asked at the press conference about the all-white jury at this year's festival.

"I did not defend" the "all-white jury," nor would I, if I had been asked to do so. Inclusion, of races, genders, ethnicities and religions, is important to me, as I stated at the outset of the press conference," she said.

The comments from the three-time Oscar winner, one of the most admired actresses of her generation, quickly went viral and made headlines around the world as some critics expressed disappointment. Others at the time said her remarks were taken out of context.

Streep said she hoped the attention drawn by her "misconstrued remarks" would be directed toward celebrating this year's Berlin film festival award winners, which included Gianfranco Rosi's Fire At Sea about African immigrants.

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