Esteemed Actor Idris Elba has come under fire for his recent remarks that he would no longer like to be known as a “black actor” and wants his talents appreciated irrespective of his skin color.
In an interview with Esquire UK, the actor said that society’s preoccupation with race has created obstacles for his career, and that he would no longer like to be defined by his ethnicity.
“As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth,” Elba said.
“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.” (RELATED: Idris Elba Hasn’t Been Contacted To Play James Bond)
Thanks for having me. @esquire @EsquireUK pic.twitter.com/vEAlpXPMVh
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) February 8, 2023
Elba’s call to discard racial essentialism ignited criticism.
Kellee Terrell, a screenwriter who has collaborated with Blumhouse and Amazon Studios, claimed that Elba’s comments were made with selfish intent.
“There’s an innocuous way that Black folks in Hollywood like Idris, Terry Crews, etc—play the “good colorblind negro” to have individual success.” Terrell tweeted, “Meanwhile,Black folks like Gina, Gabrielle, John Boyega, etc, reject that bullshit to ensure COMMUNAL SUCCESS.”
Political analyst Ameshia Cross tweeted that Idris took a “dangerous path” with his comments.
On Saturday, Elba took to Twitter to clarify his comments from the Esquire UK interview, claiming that he hasn’t disowned his racial identity, but doubled-down that he doesn’t want his race being affected with how he’s viewed in his profession.
“There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not.” Elba added, “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?”