Idris Elba says it is his “prerogative” to stop referring to himself as a “black actor”.
The ‘Luther’ star, 50, was hit with a flood of online criticism last month when he revealed in an interview with Esquire he no longer applies the label to himself as he felt it put him in “a box” and promoted the world’s obsession with dividing people into races.
He has now hit out at being trolled over the comments, telling The Guardian on Friday (05.03.23): “Me saying I don’t like to call myself a black actor is my prerogative.
“That’s me, not you. So for you to turn around and say to me, I’m ‘denying my blackness.’
“On what grounds? Did you hear that? Where am I denying it? And what for? It’s just stupid. Whatever.”
Idris added the backlash against his “black actor” remarks is proof social media can be a “conflict incubator”.
Days after his chat with Esquire, Idris clarified on Twitter about his remarks on race: “There isn't a soul on this earth that can question whether I consider myself a BLACK MAN or not.
“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 Perogative. Ah lie?”
Idris, who married for the third time in 2017 in Marrakech to the Canadian Somali model Sabrina Dhowre, 34, and who has two children from previous relationships, also told The Guardian despite his fame he lives a quiet existence and shies away from creating drama.
He added: “Contrary to popular belief, I live a quite sheltered life.
“I feel as I get older – I’m 50 now – we all have fears of saying too much, oversharing and whatnot.
“And in this day and age, it’s really difficult to have an opinion if you’re in the public eye because it gets overly scrutinised, taken out of context, thrown into some sort of bull****, zeitgeisty social media argument.”
Idris has previously tackled racism by calling for a crackdown on bigoted social media trolls by forcing everyone to be registered on platforms by their real verified identities instead of allowing people to use online handles.