Idris Elba is clearing up what he meant when he recently said he no longer calls himself a Black actor — this after much debate online — by now saying, my job ain’t about race.
The actor’s original quote showed up in an interview he did with Esquire magazine this past week, in which he said … “I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realized it put me in a box.”
IE added at the time, “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. We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: It’s just skin.”
His answer here sparked a lot of discourse, as many felt this was a controversial take … seeing how it’s in the same vein as what Morgan Freeman once said about Black History Month and racism — namely, the best way to get rid of it was to stop talking about it.
Welp, Idris heard all the chatter … and decided to set the record straight on how he feels about his Black heritage. On Saturday, he wrote … “There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not. Being an ‘actor’ is a profession, like being an ‘architect’ ,they are not defined by race.”
He added, “However, If YOU define your work by your race, that is your Perogative. Ah lie?”
In other words, Idris is saying that he finds it counterproductive to describe everything a Black person does — especially as it pertains to work — with a racial qualifier. Good of him to clarify, because — for a minute there — there were some who felt he was falling into the O.J. Simpson category.
By that, we mean the Juice once allegedly saying he wasn’t Black, but simply O.J. … essentially trying to distance himself from his race, which was the subject of a Jay-Z song.