Idris Elba Clears the Air About His Quote ‘Not Identifying As a Black Actor’

Idris Elba felt the need to clarify a recent quote he shared with Esquire where he talked about no longer wanting to identify himself as a Black actor.

During the interview, the London-born star, 50, revealed how he thought the Black actor label put him in a ‘box’, and that an ‘obsession’ with race can hinder aspirations and growth.

Days after the interview was released, the Luther: The Fallen Sun star decided to take to Twitter and elaborate on his quote, all while making sure everyone knows he’s a proud Black man.

“There isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not,” he began in the tweet.

He continues, “Being an actor is a profession, like being an architect, they are not defined by race. However, If YOU define your work by your race, that is your Prerogative. Ah lie?”

In that sit down with Esquire, the Golden Globe- winning actor addressed racism in Hollywood and beyond, and the need we all have to improve as humans, no matter the color of your skin.

“Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be,’ the father of two shared.

“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 explained Esquire.


The star continued that while he is a member of the Black community, he doesn’t put emphasis on this when it comes to his career. Elba also explained that his choice to be an actor wasn’t because of the lack of diversity in the profession, but because it was a career he felt he would thrive in.

“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,’ The Wire alum added.

Recently, Elba and his wife Sabrina Dhowre Elba called on political leaders to support to the world’s poorest countries in the form of investment as opposed to aid.

“The poor of this world are not just looking for aid and handouts, they’re looking for investment,” Idris Elba said.

We understand the power and change that can come from this room … We can move with agility and speed and your speed is needed now,” the star of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Beasts of No Nation added.