Idris Elba, the actor known for his roles in The Wire and Luther, faced criticism a few months ago when he announced that he would no longer refer to himself as a “Black actor”.
According to Elba, this label limited his career opportunities.
He received backlash from those who viewed his decision as a denial of his blackness. Recently, the actor addressed the issue in an interview with The Guardian.
Elba acknowledged that in today’s world, it is challenging for public figures to express their opinions without being overly scrutinized and misinterpreted.
He defended his decision, saying that it was his prerogative not to label himself as a black actor. He dismissed the criticism that he was denying his Blackness, asking on what grounds this accusation was made and stating that it was “just stupid”.
In his original interview with Esquire, Elba spoke about being a member of the Black community but also recognized that when he goes to America, he is seen as a prominent member of the British community. He suggested that people should focus on the similarities between them rather than their differences.
Elba expressed concern about society’s obsession with race and how it can hinder people’s aspirations and growth. He acknowledged that racism is a real issue but suggested that it is only as powerful as we allow it to be.
Elba emphasized that he stopped labeling himself as a black actor when he realized that it put him in a box.
He believes that people need to grow beyond such labels, and that our skin color is only skin deep. He concluded his statement by stating that we need to move beyond this discussion, saying, “rant over”.
It is admirable that Elba stood his ground in the face of criticism and did not backtrack or apologize for his views. He is correct in asserting that he does not need to distinguish himself as a black actor or a British actor.
The beauty of his portrayal of Luther is that the character was not defined by his race but by his profession. This is the kind of world we should strive for, where a person’s race is not a defining characteristic but rather a mere aspect of their identity.
In conclusion, Idris Elba’s decision not to label himself as a black actor has been met with criticism, but he stands by his decision. He believes that society needs to move beyond labels and focus on similarities rather than differences.
We should strive for a world where a person’s race is not the defining characteristic but rather a mere aspect of their identity.