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Debonair panty-dropper Idris Elba shocked the internet when he seemingly went full “beans for breakfast” by bashing the “Black actor” label.

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The Luther: The Fallen Sun star opened up to Esquire UK about his career, his West African background, and navigating the entertainment industry as a Black man. The director, producer, and DJ redefined himself as a way to confront racism in entertainment. The controversial comment didn’t go over well, sparking hilarious reactions on Twitter and a clap back from John Boyega. Did Idris have a point?

“It’s Just Skin” To Idris Elba

When it comes to race, we still have a long way to go, especially in the entertainment industry and Idris should be judged by the content of his iconic characters like The Wire’s Stringer Bell. However, the actor is admitting that he feels limited by the “Black actor” title and the baggage that comes with it.

“If we spent half the time not talking about the differences but the similarities between us, the entire planet would 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, hinder people’s growth,” the Beast star said.

“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 Is Still Black On Both Sides And Proud Of His West African Roots

Idris doesn’t want his race to define his career, but he’s not denying his Blackness. The actor said he loves England but noted that his culture first came from his Ghanaian mother and Sierra Leonean father. The London-born actor embodies characteristics from both the Ga tribe on his mom’s side and his father’s Temne tribe.

“I’m Black. And that skin stays with me no matter where I go, every day, through Black areas with white people in it, or white areas with Black people in it. I’m the same Black,” Idris explained.

While Black stars are expected to recount and relive past discrimination and confront racism, their white counterparts are just actors tasked only with discussing their work and interests. Representation matters, but gatekeepers who decide who to hire and support should be the main ones to answer for it.

Idris ultimately said that he just wants to focus on his craft.

“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. 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,” he said.

John Boyega And Twitter Clap Back: “We Black And That’s That!”

John Boyega, who is also British-born to West African parents, weighed in on Elba’s comments. The Woman King star has been outspoken about racism in the industry and always stood ten toes down for Black people. Instead of seeing racism as a burden for Black actors to accommodate, John blessed us with a new unapologetic proverb.

“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,” he wrote on Twitter.

It was a refreshing take after other Black leading men like Michael B. Jordan and Daniel Kaluuya made similar statements about the limitations of “Black” labels and roles.

Check out some of the reactions on Twitter to John and Idris’ comments below.

Do you agree with Idris Elba?


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