Idris Elba elaborates on why he no longer labels himself a ‘Black actor’

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Idris Elba felt the need to clarify a recent quote he shared with Esquire where he talked about no longer wanting to identify himself as a Black actor. 

In the interview, the London-born star, 50, revealed how he thought the Black actor label put him in a ‘box’, and that an ‘obsession’ with race can hinder aspirations and growth. 

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?’

In that sit down with Esquire, the Golden Globe winning actor addressed racism in Hollywood and beyond, and the need we all have to improve as humans, no matter the color of your skin.

Idris Elba elaborates on why he no longer labels himself a ‘Black actor’

Clarifying: Idris Elba, 50, provided more insight into his recent statement about not identifying as a Black actor in an interview with Esquire; Pictured in Cannes, France in 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

Race and acting: ‘Being an “actor” is a profession, like being an “architect”, they are not defined by race,’ he shared on Twitter

‘Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be,’ the father of two shared.

‘I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realized 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 explained.

The 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. Elba also explained 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.

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‘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,’ The Wire alum added.

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.’ 

His comments come after Netflix released the official trailer for his his new crime-thriller film Luther: The Fallen Sun.

It is the follow-up to the British television series of the same name (2010–2019), which ended up running for five seasons.

His reasoning: In the interview this week, Elba revealed that he no longer describes himself as a 'Black actor' in order to take the 'power' away from racism: 'I realized it put me in a box'

His reasoning: In the interview this week, Elba revealed that he no longer describes himself as a ‘Black actor’ in order to take the ‘power’ away from racism: ‘I realized it put me in a box’

Power battle: Speaking with Esquire, the British-born star explained: 'Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be'

Power battle: Speaking with Esquire, the British-born star explained: ‘Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be’

Netflix also shared brand new images of Elba, back once again as DCI John Luther, who was last seen being sent to prison in the dramatic BBC series finale. 

The action-packed teaser begins with Luther fighting with fellow prisoners before breaking out.

Once he gets free and back in the city, it appears a women needs his help to get revenge on someone after doing something evil to her son.

His character is then heard saying: ‘I need to stop this man, I’m still a copper’, before being told by the armed forces if he doesn’t stand down they’ll ‘shoot him dead’. 

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The film’s villain is then heard saying: ‘John, I looked you right in the eye because I was curious and I wanted to know if you’d see it in me. Because that is who you are isn’t it, the man who knows all about people like me.’

Tense scenes then show Luther with blood on his face after fighting, as he says: ‘He wants the world to think the bad dream has come true.’ 

Action packed: Netflix has released the official trailer for the highly-anticipated film Luther: The Fallen Sun, starring Elba

Action packed: Netflix has released the official trailer for the highly-anticipated film Luther: The Fallen Sun, starring Elba

Fistacuffs: The teaser begins with Luther fighting with fellow prisoners before breaking out

Fistacuffs: The teaser begins with Luther fighting with fellow prisoners before breaking out

Mission: Once Luther gets free and back in the city, it appears a women needs his help to get revenge on someone after doing something evil to her son

Mission: Once Luther gets free and back in the city, it appears a women needs his help to get revenge on someone after doing something evil to her son

Viewers then see Luther fighting the villain in a London underground station before being retrained by armed officers.

It ends with a close up shot of Luther saying ‘Let the nightmare come, because I’m ready’. 

It comes after Elba gave fans a taste of what to expect in the new movie, revealing that it will follow on from his ‘haunted’ character being sent to prison in the 2019 finale.  

‘He’s done so much to bend the law in order to catch the bad guys that he’s ended up in jail,’ he told Entertainment Weekly.

‘So that’s where we start the story. He’s contemplating what he’s going to do with his life.’

Meanwhile, Elba also spoke to Empire Magazine about the ‘dangers’ of moving the psychological crime thriller from television to film.

New: The New film is the follow-up to the British television series of the same name (2010–2019), which ended up running for five seasons

New: The New film is the follow-up to the British television series of the same name (2010–2019), which ended up running for five seasons

‘It’s really dangerous when expanding from television to film to throw a lot of money at it, and for that moment to change the characteristics of the show,’ he shared.

‘I wanted to make sure that even though we had a bigger budget, we didn’t distort the parameters of Luther-land too much.’

The Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom star did not give away where the film will be set but did confirm that it will ‘break out’ of London.

‘We break out of the gritty streets of London, we take it outside of that a little bit,’ he revealed.

Elba also serves as a producer on the film, which was directed by Jamie Payne and written by Neil Cross, and will also star the likes of Andy Serkis and Cynthia Erivo.

Tense: Netflix also shared brand new images of Idris, back once again as DCI John Luther, who was last seen being sent to prison in the dramatic BBC series finale

Tense: Netflix also shared brand new images of Idris, back once again as DCI John Luther, who was last seen being sent to prison in the dramatic BBC series finale

TV series Luther began it’s first series in 2010, before ending with its fifth season nine years later.

The fifth and final season of Luther was broadcasted over four consecutive nights in 2019.

Elba revealed he wrapped up the shoot for the film earlier this year , telling LADbible : ‘The Luther film, guess what, we have finished it and we have some finishing work to do on the movie but it’s nearly there.’

‘We’re really proud of it,’ he added.

Luther: Th Fallen Sun is scheduled to arrive in select cinemas on February 24, which is then followed by a Netflix release on March 10. 

Coming soon! Luther: The Fallen Sun will arrive in select cinemas on February 24,  followed by a Netflix release on March 10

Coming soon! Luther: The Fallen Sun will arrive in select cinemas on February 24,  followed by a Netflix release on March 10

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