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Idris Elba on Why He’s Not a ‘Black actor’

Published on February 10th, 2023 | Updated on February 10th, 2023 | By FanFest

Recently, Idris Elba expressed in an interview that he discontinued the term “Black actor” to refer to himself due to its limitation of his career opportunities.

“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,” the “Beast” actor told Esquire U.K. in an article published Wednesday. “As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth.”

He wholeheartedly agreed that racism should be addressed.

Idris Elba on Why He's Not a ‘Black actor’

“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.”

The actor, who is returning to his beloved character Luther in the upcoming movie “Luther: The Fallen Sun,” proudly declared that he considers himself a part of the esteemed Black community.

You say a prominent one,” he told the interviewer. “But when I go to America, I’m a prominent member of the British community. ‘Oh, UK’s in the house!’”

He said he appreciates that “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.”


Even though he’s the Black actor that has broken many barriers, he stated that his original aspiration was not to be a barrier-breaker.

“I did it because I thought that’s a great profession, and I could do a good job at it,” he said. “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.”

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