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Idris Elba Was Disheartened by Racist 007 Comments—but It’s Okay Cause He’s Black Superman

Idris Elba in Fast & Furious Presents- Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
For years, Black British actor Idris Elba, also known as People’s Sexiest Man Alive, has been one of the names floated around as who could make a great potential James Bond in an upcoming film. Much like Doctor Who and Batman, since the series has always rotated stars, it seemed like a pretty smart move to get an actor who was both popular and known for being sexually charismatic. Unfortunately, there has been something that has pushed Elba away from the role—the racist backlash against the idea of there being a “Black Bond.”

In the August Issue of Vanity Fair, the actor spoke about the attention he’s gotten for the role and how it’s really been disappointing to talk about.

Elba confirms for me that this is not happening and adds that he doesn’t love to talk about it. “James Bond is a hugely coveted, iconic, beloved character, that takes audiences on this massive escapism journey,” he says. “Of course, if someone said to me ‘Do you want to play James Bond?,’ I’d be like, Yeah! That’s fascinating to me. But it’s not something I’ve expressed, like, Yeah, I wanna be the black James Bond.”

I grew up watching Bond movies with my mother and while I don’t think that I’ve ever had a burning desire to see a woman or a person of color as James Bond, the character is a cultural icon. For a young Black British kid getting to play James Bond is like getting to play Batman here in the states. To be the person who would open that role to anyone of any ethnicity would be a huge thing, but it also isn’t fair to ask one person to shoulder that kind of backlash. These are the same people who threw a fit that Daniel Craig was playing Bond blond and refused to dye his hair.

“You just get disheartened,” [Elba] says, “when you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be.’ And it really turns out to be the color of my skin. And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the color of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.”

And that’s it: Idris Elba doesn’t need to be James Bond. He would be great at it, but the beauty of getting to play Britain’s greatest spy just might not be worth the emotional energy of dealing with racist trolls. Which sucks because at this point there is nothing inherently white about the way the character is written (the original books are another story) and there is no reason we can’t get an East Asian, Indian, or Black James Bond moving forward.

The worst part is that I’m 100% sure that Idris Elba would knock it out of the park. Racists have contributed to denying us the opportunity to see one of Britain’s best sons play Britain’s most problematic sons.

(via Vanity Fair, image: Universal Pictures)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.