Actor Idris Elba apparently does not feel comfortable speaking about his race being a factor to obtaining starring roles in prominent movies and TV shows.
By: A.J. Niles
Actor Idris Elba is developing quite the catalog of roles. Mainly known in many circles for his role as Stringer Bell in the critically acclaimed HBO drama The Wire, Elba has been on such quality shows as The Office and Luther as well as movies such as Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls and the upcoming Sci-Fi thriller Prometheus.
Elba would like for aspiring black actors to merely focus upon his ability as an actor and not his race.
During an interview with Vulture magazine, he expresses his extreme displeasure with a question about race being a factor as to why black actors struggle to consistently find work.
He passionately tells Vulture when asked about black actors:
“I’m so bored of answering that. Are there differences between black actors’ opportunities and white actors’ opportunities? Yes, there are. It’s been said. I’d rather a young black actor read about success as opposed to how tough it was. I get these roles because I can act and that’s it. Hopefully that’s it. The less I talk about being black, the better.”
If I did not know any better, I would bet that Idris Elba is doing a poor job in deflecting being black in Hollywood.
Honestly, no black person can get away from it in an industry that relies on your physical appearance. If anything, he should be proud that as a black man in Hollywood, he has been able to achieve his accomplishments and work his way out of being typecast in specific roles that do nothing to spread the perception that black actors can perform a multitude of roles.
You do not see such actors such as Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington or even the great Syndey Poitier run from being black in Hollywood.
In fact, constantly speaking on it will only help raise awareness for other black actors to not only have it easier to find roles, but to maintain the confidence to press on and keep working to perfect their craft and find work.
This feeling Idris Elba has about feeling better about not talking about being black is irresponsible at best. Hopefully, that feeling will change, but the possibility looks bleak.