“Beast” star Idris Elba is calling out what he sees as a cultural obsession with skin color.
In a recent interview with Esquire UK, the 50-year-old celebrity said human beings “are obsessed with race,” which he said “can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth.”
“Racism should be a topic for discussion, sure,” he said. “Racism is very real. But, from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be. 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.”
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At the center of Elba’s critique was those who first focus on the actor’s ethnicity over his accomplishments.
“I didn’t become an actor because I didn’t see black people doing it and I wanted to change that,” he explained. “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,” the “Luther” star 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.”
Elba’s comments come as media outlets have reported on speculation he could replace Daniel Craig as James Bond in the “007” franchise, often referring to Elba as the potential first black man to portray the character.
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