Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: Nzingha Stewart Guides Lifetime's 'With This Ring' (Premieres Saturday, January 24th) Review: Nzingha Stewart Guides Lifetime's 'With This Ring' (Premieres Saturday, January 24th) Here Are 10 Reasons Why Many of You Aren't Going to Movie Theaters Anymore, According to a New Study Here Are 10 Reasons Why Many of You Aren't Going to Movie Theaters Anymore, According to a New Study 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record 'Empire' Breaks Fox TV’s 22 Year Old Ratings Record Alexandra Shipp Has been Cast as Storm in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Alexandra Shipp Has been Cast as Storm in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Open Casting Call - 2 Male Leads in New Feature Film From the Producers of 'Pariah' & 'Yelling to the Sky' Open Casting Call - 2 Male Leads in New Feature Film From the Producers of 'Pariah' & 'Yelling to the Sky' "Stakes Is High" in First Trailer for Season 2 of STARZ Hit Drama Series 'Power' (Returns This Summer) "Stakes Is High" in First Trailer for Season 2 of STARZ Hit Drama Series 'Power' (Returns This Summer) An Open Letter to My Sister, Ava DuVernay An Open Letter to My Sister, Ava DuVernay American 'Luther' Gets Official Pilot Order at Fox, But Contingent on Cast. Let's Help Them Out... American 'Luther' Gets Official Pilot Order at Fox, But Contingent on Cast. Let's Help Them Out... Anthony Mackie Says 'Selma' Oscar Snub Is Because Voters Are "Tired of Race" Anthony Mackie Says 'Selma' Oscar Snub Is Because Voters Are "Tired of Race" Sundance Trailer Exclusive: Stanley Nelson's Timely 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Sundance Trailer Exclusive: Stanley Nelson's Timely 'The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution' Geeks Gone Wild in First Trailer for Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance-Bound Drama 'Dope' Geeks Gone Wild in First Trailer for Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance-Bound Drama 'Dope' These Movies Are Coming to Netflix's Streaming Library in February These Movies Are Coming to Netflix's Streaming Library in February Bill Duke's 'Dark Girls' Follow-up, 'Light Girls,' Premieres Tonight on OWN. Watch 3 Clips Bill Duke's 'Dark Girls' Follow-up, 'Light Girls,' Premieres Tonight on OWN. Watch 3 Clips Amazon Announces Plans to Disrupt Feature Film Production & Distribution Environment Amazon Announces Plans to Disrupt Feature Film Production & Distribution Environment Watch Teaser for 'Being Mary Jane' Season 2 + Details on Story, Guest Stars Watch Teaser for 'Being Mary Jane' Season 2 + Details on Story, Guest Stars Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) Will Have An Affair In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' Macy Gray, Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) Will Have An Affair In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' It's A 'Hustle & Flow' Reunion! Taraji P. Henson Joins Terrence Howard In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' It's A 'Hustle & Flow' Reunion! Taraji P. Henson Joins Terrence Howard In Lee Daniels' 'Empire' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Idris Elba: "The Less I Talk About Being Black, The Better"

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 29, 2012 at 1:49PM

Brit import Idris Elba has a reputation for being fairly candid in interviews, and never backing down on comments he makes; two character traits that I think amp up his appeal to his ever-expanding body of fans, as more audiences become familiar with the man and his talents.
55
Idris

Brit import Idris Elba has a reputation for being fairly candid in interviews, and never backing down on comments he makes; two character traits that I think amp up his appeal to his ever-expanding body of fans, as more audiences become familiar with the man and his talents.

He's consistent too, as demonstrated in the snip from an Uptown Magazine piece printed today titled The Question About Black Hollywood That Idris Elba Won’t Answer - on the "shortage of roles for black actors."

Idris' full answer:

"Next question... 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."

The point there (whether you agree with it or not) being that he's an actor, not a "black actor" - at least, that's how he'd prefer to be perceived; a sentiment shared by several of his comtemporaries. As if to say, "relieve me of that burden of representation; am I not a man and not a color?"

That's obviously my interpretation of what he said; I'm sure you have yours.

But Idris exists in both worlds, we could say; he takes on secondary roles in big-budgeted mainstream movies (Thor, Ghost Rider, Prometheus, most recently) - roles in which skin color is really of no bearing on the characters; and then he'll star in a *black film* (or lead a film with an all-black cast) like the upcoming No Good Deed; but he's also proactive in the sense that he'll seek out and produce projects for himself, like the critically-acclaimed Luther, and the upcoming Nelson Mandela biopic; in fact, he was doing just that before most of us knew who he was. 2+ years ago, he produced and starred in an indie thriller many still haven't seen, titled Legacy, directed by Thomas Ikimi.

The man is doing what he has to do to survive in this cutthroat business environment, and whatever he's doing seems to be working for him. 

But I'm sure some will take offense to his "the less I talk about being black, the better" comment; or maybe not. It could be seen as naive on his part, especially when paired with the sentence that comes right before it - this idea of a movement towards a post-racial America specifically, colorblind casting, etc.

Some might say that we should never stop discussing the lack of diversity in film and TV in the USA - at least, not until that discussion leads to change. Although, I'll say that I too am over talking about the shortage of roles for black actors, as I've already said on this site many times in the past. I prefer action over words. My question during these discussions, whenever I'm involved in them, is always, so what do we do about it? 

It all depends on your interpretation I suppose, so I'll leave you folks to it...

This article is related to: Idris Elba


Shadow & ActNewsletter