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Idris Elba Clarifies Why He Stopped Describing Himself As A ‘Black Actor’

Idris Elba - Black Actor
John Wilson/Netflix

Idris Elba took to social media to clarify why he no longer refers to himself as a “Black actor.”

In a recent interview with Esquire UK, the Luther: The Fallen Sun star shared that describing himself as a “Black actor” put him in a box.

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

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.

I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realised 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.

Rant over.

Idris went on to add: 

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. ‘Oh, UK’s in the house!’

Headlines about Idris Elba not referring to himself as a Black actor popped up all over the internet and sparked criticism. 

One person wrote:

Idris Elba making the comments about not wanting to be labeled a black actor is disappointing. I don’t want to be anything more in this world than a black man. Despite the dangers and obstacles placed in front of me, I would never want to be anything other than black.

Another person tweeted:

But if Idris Elba wasn’t a “Black Actor”, they would have given him the role of James Bond by now …. Him saying he’s no longer a black actor doesn’t mean that his industry has stopped seeing him as such. It more sensible to tackle the issues head-on. Than deny his blackness.

Idris took to Twitter to clarify his statement about being a Black actor and his agitation was pretty apparent when he tweeted:

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. Ah lie?

See his original tweet below.

You may recall a while back Nia Long came under fire for her remarks regarding being “Black famous.”

She recently clarified her stance while chatting with Wanda Sykes.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or join the convo on our socials. (Facebook, Instagram)

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Xaviera Bryant is the CEO and Founder of Ice Cream Conversations. She's a self-made six-figure blogger whose publisher story was featured by Google. Visit our About page for more.
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