Idris Elba laments human ‘obsession’ with race, says he no longer identifies himself as a ‘Black actor’

Hollywood superstar Idris Elba says humans are “obsessed with race,” and he does not want to be “put in a box” as an actor.

That’s why the “Avengers” and “Fast & Furious” star no longer identifies himself as a “Black actor.”

In today’s woke world, it’s a stunning admission from one of Tinsel Town’s blockbuster draws.

“If we spent half the time not talking about the differences but the similarities between us, the entire planet would have a shift in the way we deal with each other,” Elba said in an exclusive interview with Esquire magazine. “As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth.”

The British actor spoke with journalist Alex Bilmes ahead of the release of his latest project, “Luther: The Fallen Sun.”

He said that, while “racism is very real” and “should be a topic for discussions,” people give it too much power.

“From my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be,” he explained.

And that’s why he stopped calling himself a “Black actor.”

“I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realized it put me in a box,” Elba said. “We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: it’s just skin.”

While he accepts that he is seen as a “prominent” member of the Black community, he didn’t get into acting because he wanted to break racial ceilings.

“I didn’t become an actor because I didn’t see Black people doing it and I wanted to change that,” he said. “I did it because I thought that’s a great profession and I could do a good job at it.”

“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,” he stated. “I don’t want to be the first Black. I’m the first Idris.”

Elba noted that even the notion of being considered a “prominent” member of the Black community depends on which community you are currently standing in.

“Of course, I’m a member of the Black community. You say a prominent one,” he said. “But when I go to America, I’m a prominent member of the British community. ‘Oh, UK’s in the house!'”

In the end, Elba said, his skin doesn’t change colors based on his location.

“I’m not any more Black because I’m in a White area, or more Black because I’m in a Black area,” he stated. “I’m Black. And that skin stays with me no matter where I go, every day, through Black areas with White people in it, or White areas with Black people in it. I’m the same Black.”

In a refreshing change of pace, Elba — who lived for a time in “working-class” Canning Town where “there weren’t that many Black people” — said he hopes he will inspire kids of both races.

“I might be the first to look like me to do a certain thing. And that’s good, to leave as part of my legacy,” he said. “So that other people, Black kids, but also White kids growing up in the circumstances I grew up in, are able to see there was a kid who came from Canning Town who ended up doing what I do. It can be done.”


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