Idris Elba says fame does not negate experiences of racism


IDRIS ELBA has said his successful acting career has not negated his experience of racism.

The actor was one of the speakers in online discussion The Reckoning: The Arts, Media and Black Lives Matter, alongside the Young Vic’s artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah.

He said: “Success has not negated racism for me.

“Asking me about racism is like asking me how long I have been breathing.”

Elba grew up in Hackney and pursued a career in acting after securing a place in the National Youth Music Theatre.

He said his parents instilled in him the idea he had to work harder to be “twice as good” as his white counterparts.

This “mantra” stuck with him throughout his career and has shaped his work ethic, he added.

Elba’s appearance on the live-streamed event followed his call for the entertainment industry to commit to help excel black talent.

He was one of the 300 plus black artists and executives to sign an open letter to Hollywood, in collaboration with the Black Lives Matter co-founders.

The letter urged Hollywood to hire black executives and allow them decision-making power and create anti-racism content that “humanises and advances nuanced portrayals of black people”.

It also advocated for an anti-racism task force that had the power to hold studios to account for discriminatory behaviour, and hire black-owned catering and PR companies.

Mahershala Ali, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis and Kerry Washington were among those who also signed their names.

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