Idris Elba has hit back after facing mass criticism last month for revealing that he no longer describes himself as a ‘Black actor’.
The Luther star, 50, who is of Ghanaian and Sierra Leone Creole heritage, sparked a social media backlash when he detailed how he thought the ‘Black actor’ label put him in a ‘box’, and that an ‘obsession’ with race can hinder aspirations and growth.
He told Esquire: ‘We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: it’s just skin. Rant over.’
He added: ”Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be.
Now the actor has doubled down on his remarks in a new interview with the Guardian, slamming fans who accused him of ‘denying his blackness’ with his controversial comments.
Comments: Idris Elba has hit back after facing mass criticism last month for revealing that he no longer describes himself as a ‘Black actor’ (pictured March 1)
He said: ‘Me saying I don’t like to call myself a Black actor is my prerogative. That’s me, not you. So for you to turn around and say to me, I’m “denying my Blackness”.
‘On what grounds? Did you hear that? Where am I denying it? And what for? It’s just stupid. Whatever.’
In his February interview, The Wire star continued that while he is a member of the Black community, he doesn’t put the emphasis on this when it comes to his career.
Idris explained to the publication that his choice to be an actor wasn’t because the lack of diversity in the profession, but because it was a career he felt he would thrive in.
‘As you get up the ladder, you get asked what it’s like to be the first Black to do this or that,’ He continued.
‘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.’
Some three days after the interview dropped, the Luther star decided to take to Twitter and elaborate on his quote, all while making sure everyone knowns he’s a proud Black man.
‘There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not,’ he began in the tweet, adding, ‘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?’
He said: ‘Me saying I don’t like to call myself a Black actor is my prerogative. That’s me, not you. So for you to turn around and say to me, I’m “denying my Blackness”. ‘On what grounds? Did you hear that? Where am I denying it? (pictured in Luther)
Interview: The Luther star , 50, who is of Ghanaian and Sierra Leone Creole heritage, sparked a social media backlash when he detailed how he thought the Black actor label put him in a ‘box’ , and that an ‘obsession’ with race can hinder aspirations and growth (Pictured May 2022)
Race and acting: ‘Being an “actor” is a profession, like being an “architect”, they are not defined by race,’ he shared on Twitter
Back in 2020, Idris revealed that he experiences racism ‘as often as breathing’.
Talking during live-streamed discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement, the actor said: ‘Success has not negated racism for me. Asking me about racism is like asking me about how long I have been breathing.’
The actor has recently returned as DCI John Luther in Luther: The Fallen Sun, the big-screen continuation of the TV series, and hopes the character can take up some of 007’s ‘real estate’.
The gritty new movie, which features Andy Serkis as cyber serial killer David Robey, has so far been panned by critic after its Netlfix release last week.
Idris thinks the Luther movie has been ‘a long time coming’ and is already planning for the future on the big screen.
The Beasts of No Nation star said: ‘Hopefully it is the beginning of the new chapter. Sounds corny, but you know we have gone from television, we have gone as far as we can and now, we have got the world as our stage. Big epic landscapes and you know infinite stories.’
Elba suggested that Luther could come up against multiple villains in the next movie.
He said: ‘No spoilers but I think it might be more than one.’
But The Fallen Sun has so far been panned by critics after the Netflix crime thriller was shown in select cinemas ahead of its streaming release.
Coming soon! Luther: The Fallen Sun will be released on Netflix on March 10
Idris’s latest film has been met with a flurry of two-star reviews, with critics claiming the ‘preposterous’ picture is ‘jumbled’, ‘farfetched’ and ‘ridiculous’.
The film, which will arrive on the small screen on March 10, follows DCI John Luther (Idris) as he escapes from his maximum-security prison to capture a cyber psychopath and serial killer, played by Andy Serkis.
But Variety has slated the ‘hard to take seriously’ picture while Empire said the movie – based on the 2010s BBC series – felt ‘rather recycled’.
Brian Viner wrote in the Daily Mail: ‘It bombards us with an overload of everything, especially plot, with a psychotic villain played by Andy Serkis who seems to have arrived in modern-day London straight from the bowels of the Underworld.’