British actor Daniel Kaluuya has responded to Samuel L. Jackson‘s recent comments over his role in new comedy horror film Get Out.
Jackson criticised the movie for portraying a British star as an African-American. He also suggested that as a Brit, Kaluuya would not fully understand the difficulties of interracial dating experienced by African-Americans.
“I think it’s great that movie’s doing everything it’s doing and people are loving it,” Jackson previously said. “But… I know the young brother who’s in the movie, and he’s British. I tend to wonder what that movie would have been with an American brother who really feels that.”
“Daniel grew up in a country where they’ve been interracial dating for a hundred years. What would a brother from America have made of that role? Some things are universal but (not everything is).”
Following Jackson’s comments, Star Wars actor John Boyega hit back at Jackson on Twitter. “Black brits vs African American. A stupid ass conflict we don’t have time for,” he wrote.
Now Kaluuya has spoken out for the first time, admitting that he was disappointed by Jackson’s comments.
“I’m dark-skinned, bro. When I’m around black people I’m made to feel ‘other’ because I’m dark-skinned,” he told GQ. “I’ve had to wrestle with that, with people going, ‘You’re too black’.
“Then I come to America and they say, ‘You’re not black enough’. I go to Uganda, I can’t speak the language. In India, I’m black. In the black community, I’m dark-skinned. In America, I’m British.”
Kaluuya continued: “[Black people in the UK], the people who are the reason I’m even about to have a career, had to live in a time where they went looking for housing and signs would say, ‘NO IRISH. NO DOGS. NO BLACKS’. That’s reality.
“Police would round up all these black people, get them in the back of a van, and wrap them in blankets so their bruises wouldn’t show when they beat them. That’s the history that London has gone through.
“The Brixton riots, the Tottenham riots, the 2011 riots, because black people were being killed by police. That’s what’s happening in London. But it’s not in the mainstream media. Those stories aren’t out there like that. So people get an idea of what they might think the experience is.”
Kaluuya added that he “resents” how he has to fight to get people to accept that he is black, and that he is confused why there is a furore surrounding his casting.
Jackson has since sought to explain his original comments about black British actors.”It was not a slam against them, but it was just a comment about how Hollywood works in an interesting sort of way sometimes,” he said.
He added: “We’re not afforded that same luxury, but that’s fine, we have plenty of opportunities to work.”
The actor also said of British actors: “I enjoy their work… I enjoy working with them when I have the opportunity to do that.”