Idris Elba Tries to Clear Up ‘Black Actor’ Comment After Backlash

Idris Elba (Credit: Shutterstock)

Idris Elba wants to set the record straight about his comment saying he rejects being described as a “Black actor.”

The Luther: The Fallen Sun star took to Twitter on Saturday, Feb. 11, to explain what he meant.

“There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not,” he tweeted. “Being an ‘actor’ is a profession, like being an ‘architect’, they are not defined by race. However, If YOU define your work by your race, that is your Perogative. Ah lie?”

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Elba has been making headlines since Esquire UK published a Feb. 8 interview, which included the actor’s views on race.

While the British performer said “Racism is very real,” he added, “it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be.”

He then told the interviewer he no longer identifies as a “Black actor.”

“I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realised 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,” he stated.

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

But many social media users, especially African Americans, disagreed with his assessment.

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“Idris Elba’s comments about not being labeled a Black actor is interesting seeing as how many people don’t want him to play James Bond because… he’s a black actor,” one person tweeted.

“I guess he thinks he’s so famous that even the police will recognize him if pulled over. Or, he must still want to be the next James Bond!” another person tweeted.

“This is why I’m against foreign Black actors being given our best roles in films especially about our history, they have NO CLUE what we have gone through. He’s whining about having to THINK about racism all the time in the US as he takes our roles,” wrote another Twitter user who described themselves as an American descendant of slaves.

“Regardless of whether Idris Elba sees himself as a ‘Black Actor’ or not, the white establishment made the rules of “race.” We are forced to be reminded of race in EVERYTHING we do. We have to fill out the race box in EVERY application we fill out, loans, college, insurance…etc,” another person tweeted.

It’s likely this debate will continue.