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Actor Idris Elba caught the wrath of Black Twitter earlier this year when he declared that he no longer describes himself as a Black actor. Later on, he clarified his remarks by tweeting that “there isn’t a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not,” and that all he meant is that he doesn’t define the work he does as an actor according to his race. But at the time he said what he said, it really just sounded like he was being delusional about Blackness and the way Black people are perceived regardless of whether we call ourselves Black or not.

Either way, it appears that Elba learned the lesson that the world will always remind him that he’s Black when his name was being shipped around as the next potential actor to play James Bond.

“The truth is, I was super complimented for a long time about this. I was like, ‘This is crazy!’ Because James Bond… We’re all actors and we understand that role. It’s one of those coveted [roles],” Elba said during an appearance on the SmartLess podcast. “Being asked to be James Bond was like, ‘Okay, you’ve sort of reached the pinnacle.’”

“Essentially, it was a huge compliment that every corner of the world except from some corners, which we will not talk about, were really happy about the idea that I could be considered,” Elba added. “Those that weren’t happy about the idea made the whole thing disgusting and off-putting because it became about race. It became about nonsense, and I got the brunt of it.”

So, basically, it isn’t identifying as a Black actor that might put him “in a box” like Elba previously said—it was racism that put him in that box.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that Elba said last year that playing Bond “is not a goal” of his anyway, so it isn’t likely that he feels he’s missing out on anything by not going for it. Still, it’s a shame that he let white fragility kill his excitement over even being thought of for the role.

At the end of the day, we’re often going to be seen as Black first whether it’s what we want or not, so we might as well wear our Blackness proudly—which I’m sure Idris does. 

Here’s how Twitter reacted when he said he didn’t want to be identified as a Black actor

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