Actor Idris Elba recently made the announcement that he no longer identifies as a “black actor.” He made the statement after feeling as though he’d been placed in a box within his career. Naturally, however, he received backlash for his statement – and now Idris Elba has given a response on the matter.
As explained while speaking with The Guardian, Idris Elba had to put things into perspective. Specifically, he claims that his words were misinterpreted and “taken out of context.” He further discusses how the backlash was formed against him.
Here’s what he shared:
“I feel as I get older – I’m 50 now – we all have fears of saying too much, oversharing and whatnot. And in this day and age, it’s really difficult to have an opinion if you’re in the public eye because it gets overly scrutinised, taken out of context, thrown into some sort of bullshit, zeitgeisty social media argument.”
Idris Elba then referenced the backlash as a specific example of this:
“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.”
This leads directly to the very beginning of his career where the fan-favorite star made his acting choices without basing them on race:
“I wanted to play in an arena that had a much more diverse array of actors and cultures in film-making. And I wanted to be, quote, unquote, a movie star,” he says. “You can make sparkling wine in Portsmouth or you can make champagne in Champagne, and my ambition was to make champagne.”
Many fans would agree that Idris Elba has succeeded in his goals. Elba has played numerous beloved characters in both film and on television. And, despite the backlash, he’s made his decision not to let race keep him in a box.