(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) Actor Idris Elba defended himself on Twitter after receiving backlash for making comments about how he no longer describes himself as a “black actor.”
“There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not,” he said. “Being an ‘actor’ is a profession, like being an ‘architect,’ they are not defined by race. However, if YOU define your work by race, that is your prerogative. Ah lie?”
According to Fox News, the tweet closely follows some statements by Elba that lead many activists to believe he was disowning his race.
“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,” Elba said in an interview. “As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth.”
Elba continued, adding that while he believes race is not a defining characteristic, he does believe racism is real.
“Racism is very real,” Elba said. “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 realized 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.”
Elba also mentioned that he wanted to be an inspiration to black and white kids growing up in tough circumstances, and encourage them to work hard and give it a try.
“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.”
Several woke Twitter activists insisted that Elba’s philosophy on the matter is patently false, and he cannot separate himself from his blackness and he has shamed the black community.
Can somebody explain to Idris Elba the way HE self-identifies is not what "put him in a box." The four walls of the proverbial box he is referring to are comprised of little things called racism, discrimination, bias and prejudice. You cant rename yourself out of that box https://t.co/nhgj36FDs5
— Shanita Hubbard (@msshanitarenee) February 11, 2023
This phenomenon of black people reaching this false enlightenment of “I am no longer black” is so sad.
It’s a symptom of late stage colonization. We’re conditioned to hate ourselves&view our own blackness as negative.
Idris Elba should do better.
— 🤌🏿 Imani W = Good Craic (@imanilfc) February 11, 2023