50-year-old Hollywood actor Idris Elba doesn’t want to be described as a “black actor.” Unlike Rep. Ilhan Omar, who uses her skin color and status as an immigrant to claim victim status, Elba, the only child of immigrants to the UK from Sierra Leone, told Esquire magazine that he doesn’t want to self-segregate himself or be placed in a special category because of the color of his skin.
From Esquire magazine: His father was 33 when he arrived from his native Sierra Leone; his mother, born in Ghana, was 26 — Idris Elba is one of a handful of British actors who can justly claim to be Hollywood leading men. His story is well known: the boy from the east-London council estate who, in the 1990s, followed his dream of being an actor to New York made his name with that extraordinarily controlled and seductive performance in what remains one of the finest TV dramas ever made, and went on to big-screen success and cultural ubiquity — as an actor, director, producer, DJ, musician, rapper, entrepreneur, fashion designer, philanthropist, dare-devil, podcaster, heart-throb, and I’m sure I’ve missed a few. A father of three, he has been married since 2019 to Sabrina, a Canadian model and actor of Somali descent. They live in west London. said that he’s no longer interested in being defined by the color of his skin during an interview published Wednesday.
“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.”
“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 explained. “As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth.”
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The 50-year-old actor isn’t saying racism doesn’t exist; instead, he explains, “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.”
“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,” he explained.
The outspoken actor says he didn’t decide to be an actor because he didn’t grow up not seeing other black actors, “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.”
According to Esquire, Idris Elba has a new movie that will be coming out: Luther: The Fallen Sun, a feature-length expansion of his hit BBC cop show, which will appear in cinemas later this month and on Netflix in March.