Describing myself as a Black Actor puts me ‘in a box’— Idris Elba
British actor, Idris Elba says describing himself as a black actor has put him “inside a box” and hindered his growth in the industry.
According to him, racism evokes negative reactions among people, hence his realisation not to be termed as a “black actor.”
“If we spend half the time not talking about the differences but the similarities between us, the entire planet will 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 and hinder people’s growth,” he said.
Speaking in a media interview, Idris Elba explained that his acting career did not stem from a fight for equal right of the blacks in the international industry but from talent, thus describing himself as a black actor would limit his craft.
“I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realised it put me in a box. We’ve got to grow, our skin is no more than that, it’s just skin,” he said.
For Elba, his initial motivation for becoming an actor wasn’t anchored in representation for equality, but for the love of the art.
“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.
Idris Elba further stated that “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.”
The talented actor who doubles as the prominent member of the British community hoped to be an inspiration for young people interested in acting and getting into 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.”
“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 added.
Idris Elba is next to be seen in Netflix film, “Luther: The Fallen Sun,” the big screen follow-up to his beloved crime series “Luther”, when it hits theaters on February 24.