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Y‘all know we Black people love us some Idris Elba. The man just makes Black women swoon and Black men want to up their elegant swag at least a little bit. He’s popular with the Black delegation.

However, it turns out Elba no longer wishes to describe himself as a “Black actor,” because, for whatever reason, he believes Black people are held back when we affirm our racial identities.

“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 during an interview with Esquire UK. “As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth.”

Elba acknowledged that “racism is very real,” but he said he believes “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. Rant over,” he said.

Oh, Idris.

Listen: Maybe if I squint my eyes really hard, squeezing white supremacy to the margins of my peripheral vision, I can kiiiiiiiinda see where Elba is coming from. But for the most part, this is some “I don’t see color,” “racism will die out of we just stop talking about it” Kumbaya nonsense that just doesn’t match reality. Systemic racism is not something Black people have the power to disallow. If I’m racially profiled by a cop or Karen, it’s not likely I can just hit them with, “I’m not Black, I’m O.J.” and get myself out of a racist situation. When we’re facing housing discrimination, hiring discrimination, voter suppression, educational roadblocks, and the systematic whitewashing of Black history, we can’t just scratch “Black” from our profiles and start side-stepping all the hurdles put before us. And we shouldn’t have to.

Also, with all due respect to one of my top 5 cast members from The Wire, just because some Black celebrities allow racism to punk them out of repping their Blackness loudly and proudly doesn’t mean those of us who don’t are “obsessed” with race. Celebrating our Blackness doesn’t hinder our growth or aspirations. There’s only one reason being pro-Black could be a hindrance, and, well, that reason is racism, sir. Racism is the thing that can put you in a box, not being unapologetically Black.

And Blackness is not “just skin.” It’s also community, history and culture—a culture that tends to set the bar for what becomes popular culture. 

Anyway, “rant over.” See how Black Twitter reacted below.

Idris Elba Doesn’t Want To Be Described As A ‘Black Actor,’ Black Twitter Is Displeased  was originally published on












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