John Boyega has responded to Idris Elba‘s recent comments, where the latter said he had “stopped describing [himself] as a Black actor”.
During a recent chat with Esquire UK, the Luther star said people are “obsessed with race”, and that “can really hinder people’s aspirations,” adding that being described as a Black actor “put [him] in a box”.
“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,” the star began.
“As humans, we are obsessed with race. And that obsession can really hinder people’s aspirations, hinder people’s growth.”
Elba added: “Racism should be a topic for discussion, sure. Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be.
“I stopped describing myself as a Black actor when I realised 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.”
After a follower on Twitter weighed in by declaring: “He’s not wrong lmao. Many Black and POC actors have talked about being typecasted into stereotypical roles because of their race,” Boyega addressed his fellow actor’s original comments.
I think we should fixate on who is typecasting and putting actors in boxes because of this. Not on making weird adjustments for them. We continuously focus on what we have to do so they don't do this or that. Very worrying. We BLACK and that's that. https://t.co/E0sBLJOBIR
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) February 10, 2023
“I think we should fixate on who is typecasting and putting actors in boxes because of this,” the Star Wars actor tweeted. “Not on making weird adjustments for them.
“We continuously focus on what we have to do so they don’t do this or that. Very worrying. We BLACK and that’s that,” he added.
Boyega has spoken up on racial issues in the film industry before, previously raising concerns around Star Wars after he felt that actors of colour had been sidelined in the narrative.
“As you go along and all these issues pile on top, you know, I just thought it was, you know, quite important to say something, so it’s not an elephant in the room,” he later told NPR, while praising Marvel for “elevating” Black characters.
“And I think that, you know, more conversations have even been bubbling with other actors now in different projects and franchises… things that they noticed as well. It’s a conversation worth having, to be honest.”
Elba will soon be seen in Luther film The Fallen Sun, which recently debuted its first trailer ahead of its release later this month.