Idris Elba responds to criticism after not calling himself a black actor
Idris Elba responded to backlash after an interview on Friday with Esquire UK where Elba said he stopped describing himself as a “black actor” because it limited his career.
The “Cats” actor said it’s “very hard” for celebrities to have an opinion according to a new interview with The Guardian. Explaining that his words were “overly scrutinized, taken out of context” and “thrown into some kind of bulls-t, zeitgeisty social media argument”.
“Saying I don’t like to call myself a black actor is my prerogative. That’s me, not you,” said Elba, 50. “So for you to turn around and say to me, I deny my blackness.” On what grounds? Did you hear that? Where do I deny it? And for what? It’s just stupid. Whatever.”
Speaking to Esquire, the “Luther” actor said, “As humans, we’re obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth.
“Racism should of course be a topic of discussion. Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you let it be,” the actor continued. “I stopped describing myself as a black actor when I realized it put me in a box. We must grow. We have to. Our skin is just that: it’s just skin. Go on a rampage.”
The comments spurred several people to strike down Elba.
He’s still black though. He can say he’s not a “black actor,” but that skin color won’t change just because he says so. He can still be typecast just like any other black actor,’ tweeted a person.
“He’s not wrong lmao. Many black and POC actors have talked about being typecast into stereotyped roles because of their race,” tweeted another.
“Star Wars” actor John Boyega came forward in defense of Elba.
“I think that’s why we have to fixate on who does typecasting and pigeonholing actors. Not on making weird adjustments for them,” tweeted Boyega. “We are constantly focusing on what we need to do so that they don’t do this or that. Very worrying. We BLACK and that’s that.”
Elba also took to Twitter to further explain herself.
“There is not a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not,” he wrote. “Being an actor is a profession, just like being an architect. They are not defined by race. However, if YOU define your work by your race, that is your prerogative.