International star Idris Elba is taking aim at those slamming him for saying he does not want to be known only as a “black actor,” calling the backlash “stupid” and insisting he is not “denying my blackness.”
The British actor, who has starred in Marvel’s Thor films, Star Trek Beyond, Pacific Rim, and other blockbusters told Esquire magazine in February that he hesitates to call himself a black actor.
“I stopped describing myself as a black actor when I realized it put me in a box,” he said.
Elba did not deny that racism can be “very real,” but he also said he feels that people can become obsessed with racism to their own detriment.
“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,” Elba said. “But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be. We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: It’s just skin.”
He added that he didn’t become an actor because he wanted to see more black people in the profession. “I did it because I thought that’s a great profession and I could do a good job at it,” he remarked.
“I don’t want to be the first black. I’m the first Idris,” he said.
Still, he did note that if black kids are inspired by his career, that is also a good thing.
“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 said. “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.”
It wasn’t long before the woke scolds came out to attack him for his logical sentiment, and the backlash caused him to jump to his Twitter account to respond.
“There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not,” the star wrote on social media. “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.”
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?
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) February 11, 2023
Elba, though, was not done addressing the backlash. He also spoke out again to blast the cancel culture leftists who have been upset over his stance on being a “black actor.” In an interview published Friday by The Guardian, the actor called the backlash “stupid.”
He also said that having opinions in today’s social media environment is often a challenge, and noted that “in this day and age, it’s really difficult to have an opinion if you’re in the public eye because it gets overly scrutinized, taken out of context, thrown into some sort of bullshit, zeitgeisty social media argument.”
He went on to say that claims he is somehow denying his blackness are absurd.
“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 the paper.
Elba found a measure of support from fellow actor John Boyega. In a tweet, the Star Wars star went on the attack against people doing the “stereotyping.”
“I think we should fixate on who is typecasting and putting actors in boxes because of this. Not on making weird adjustments for them. We continuously focus on what we have to do so they don’t do this or that. Very worrying. We BLACK and that’s that,” Boyega wrote.
I think we should fixate on who is typecasting and putting actors in boxes because of this. Not on making weird adjustments for them. We continuously focus on what we have to do so they don’t do this or that. Very worrying. We BLACK and that’s that. https://t.co/E0sBLJOBIR
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) February 10, 2023
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