“I Stopped Describing Myself as a Black Actor .It Puts Me In A Box”

 – Idris Elba

story by Edem Latsu Nukafu 

Renowned English entertainer Idris Elba does not like to be labelled or restrained. The prominent movie star is getting honest about his opinions on race, racism and equality in Hollywood.

Granting an to Esquire U.K. while publicizing his forthcoming movie, Luther: The Fallen Sun, the African birthed English actor revealed how he no longer calls to himself as a “Black actor,” and like to just be evaluated on the values of his talent.

Quoting his exact submissions, Mr Elba shared that, “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 further expatiated that, “of course, I’m a member of the Black community. You say a prominent one. But when I go to America, I’m a prominent member of the British community.”

“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. As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth,” Elba mirrored. 

“Racism should be a topic for discussion, sure. Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be.”

On his part, his primary rationale for coming to be an actor wasn’t anchored in articulation or parity, but for the love of the craft.

According to him, “I didn’t become an actor because I didn’t see Black people doing it and I wanted to change that. I did it because I thought that’s a great profession and I could do a good job at it,” he said. “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.”

However, he does wish to be an a motivation for young individuals interested in acting and making their way to Hollywood.

“I accept that it is part of my journey to be aware that, in many cases, I might be the first to look like me to do a certain thing. And that’s good, to leave as part of my legacy,” he shared. “So that other people, Black kids, but also white kids growing up in the circumstances I grew up in, are able to see there was a kid who came from Canning Town who ended up doing what I do. It can be done,” He summed up.

© 2023

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