Sierra Leone born British actor Idris Akuna Elba has said in an interview Esquire U.K. while promoting his forthcoming film, Luther: The Fallen Sun, that he stopped describing himself as a black actor after his realization that, that very statement gets to box him up.
The Hollywood star said he wishes to be identified on the virtues of his talent not his race or color. “I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realized it put me in a box,” Elba shared. “We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: it’s just skin” Idris Elba emphasized.
He however defined himself as a proud member of both the British and the Black communities saying “of course, I’m a member of the Black community. You say a prominent one. But when I go to America, I’m a prominent member of the British community.”
The “Beast of No Nation” star shared his opinion on racism, explaining that “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. As humans, we are obsessed with race. 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. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be,” he added
In the interview, the film star who has been in Ghana recently while producing his new film made it clear that, he did not choose to become an actor because he was Black and did not see Black people doing it, but rather, he wanted to change the narrative. Idris Elba said the he made his choice because he thought of acting being a great profession and believed He could do a good job at it.”
While hoping to be an inspiration to young people, both white and black, the screen god’s words informed that becoming a greater version of who you truly are as a person is a choice and a decision everyone can make.
“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.”