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Idris Elba says it’s ‘stupid’ for people to criticize him for not referring to himself as a ‘Black actor’

Gregory Robinson

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Idris Elba says it’s ‘stupid’ for people to criticize him for not referring to himself as a ‘Black actor’

Featured Image Credit: ZUMA Press Inc / Entertainment Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo

Idris Elba has weighed in on the recent backlash he received after revealing he does not refer to himself as a ‘Black actor’.

The Luther actor, 50, became the centre of controversy recently while speaking ahead of the release of the new film, Luther: The Fallen Sun.

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In an interview with Esquire, Elba spoke about racism and how, in his view, 'not talking about the differences' between people would be more beneficial to society.

The Hackney-born star was asked if he lived in a 'tough neighbourhood' growing up.

“Of course, I’m a member of the Black community,” Elba said. “You say a prominent one. But when I go to America, I’m a prominent member of the British community.

“Oh, UK’s in the house!"

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He added: “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.”

Idris Elba responded to his controversial comments. Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo
Idris Elba responded to his controversial comments. Credit: Doug Peters / Alamy Stock Photo

“As humans, we are obsessed with race,” he continued.

“And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth. Racism should be a topic for discussion, sure. Racism is very real.

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“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.”

Now, the Pacific Rim actor has responded to the backlash his comments caused online in a new interview with The Guardian, in which he defended his decision to avoid using the ‘Black actor’ label.

Luther: The Fallen Sun will be released this month. Credit: Netflix
Luther: The Fallen Sun will be released this month. Credit: Netflix
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“Me saying I don’t like to call myself a Black actor is my prerogative,” he said. “That’s me, not you. [People say] I’m denying my Blackness. On what grounds?”

The Golden Globe-award winning actor clarified that he wasn’t denying his ‘denying’ is race when he said he no longer calls himself a ‘Black actor’.

He continued: “Did you hear that? Where am I denying it? And what for? It’s just stupid. Whatever.”

Elba’s parents moved to England from Sierra Leone and Ghana respectively and he was raised in east London.

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The hotly anticipated Luther film involves a serial killer who is terrorising London while disgraced detective Luther (Elba) sits behind bars.

He is haunted by his failure to capture the cyber psychopath who is constantly mocking and taunting him along the way.

Luther: The Fallen Sun will be available to watch on Netflix from 10 March.

Topics: Celebrity, Idris Elba, Film and TV

Gregory Robinson
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