Golden Globe winner and star of the hit crime series "Luther," Idris Elba, recently spoke to Esquire UK about his views on race and the entertainment industry. In the interview, published Wednesday, Elba shared his thoughts on the "obsession" with race and how it can hinder personal growth and aspirations.
The Power of Language: Rejecting Racial Labels
Elba, best known for his role as Stringer Bell in the HBO series "The Wire" and DCI John Luther in the BBC series "Luther," spoke out against the labeling of individuals based on their skin color.
"I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realized it put me in a box," he said. "Our skin is no more than that: it's just skin." The actor believes that the focus on differences between races is limiting and that instead, we should focus on the similarities between individuals. "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.
Racism: An Inevitable Reality
Elba acknowledges that racism is a reality, but that it only holds as much power as an individual allows it to. "Racism is very real, but it's only as powerful as you allow it to be," he said.
Pursuing a Passion, Not Breaking Barriers
Elba shared that his reasons for pursuing a career in entertainment were rooted in his passion for the profession, not his identity as a Black man. "I did it because I thought that's a great profession and I could do a good job at it," he explained.
"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." Elba can next be seen in the upcoming Netflix film, "Luther: The Fallen Sun," the big screen follow-up to the popular crime series "Luther." The film is set to hit theaters on February 24th.
Idris Elba's views on race and the entertainment industry serve as a reminder that individuals should not be defined by their skin color, but rather by their passions, talents, and aspirations.