Idris Elba says enough is enough.
The Luther star is fed up with trolls who say he denied his Blackness when he denounced the label, “Black actor”. The British Zaddy explained to Esquire UK that referring to yourself as a Black actor can limit role opportunities and growth in the field.
“I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realized it put me in a box. We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: it’s just skin.” he stated.
“If we spent half the time not talking about the differences but the similarities between us, the entire planet would have a shift in the way we deal with each other”. He continued, “As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth.”
Elba explained that he did not pursue an acting career to break barriers as a Black man.
“I did it because I thought that’s a great profession and I could do a good job at it. As you get up the ladder, you get asked what it’s like to be the first Black to do this or that. Well, it’s the same as it would be if I were white. It’s the first time for me. I don’t want to be the first Black. I’m the first Idris.”
The 6’2 thespian says, “racism is very real” but also contends “it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be.” He told English Daily social media often chooses to contort the words of celebrities.
“It’s really difficult to have an opinion if you’re in the public eye because it gets overly scrutinized, taken out of context, and thrown into some sort of bullshit, zeitgeisty social media argument.”
The 50 year old described social media as a “conflict incubator” and says this is his choice and he’s sticking to it.
“Me saying I don’t like to call myself a Black actor is my prerogative. That’s me, not you. So for you to turn around and say to me, I’m ‘denying my Blackness’. On what grounds? Did you hear that? Where am I denying it? And what for? It’s just stupid. Whatever,” he told English Daily.
“There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not. Being an ‘actor’ is a profession, like being an ‘architect,’ they are not defined by race. However, If YOU define your work by your race, that is your Perogative [sic]. Ah, lie?”
One Twitter user failed to understand the form Wire star’s perspective.
“That statement from Idris Alba basically says, diversity and inclusion in Hollywood shouldn’t be considered because at the end of the day, they are all just actors? I wish black ppl with huge platforms would think about impact before making such statements.”
Another user agreed with Elba’s sentiments.
“I don’t put black artist in my bio, I’m an artist. I understood his point.”
Several Black actors including Michael B. Jordan have openly discussed their difficulties obtaining roles that weren’t stereotypical and their desire to play universal portrayals with race uncentered.
“I want to only go for like, [roles written for] white males. That’s it. That’s all I want to do,” he shared. “Me playing that role is going to make it what it is… I don’t want any pre-bias on the character.”
He continued, “Sometimes writers write what they know,” and “what their encounters of us would be and that’s a slight bias.”
Points were made.
Do you agree with Idris and Mike?