Idris Elba’s recent “Du-rag thought” captioned Instagram videos, prove as much as he is a talented actor with successful business side ventures — running a production company, clothing line, and record label and all — he is full of valuable and insightful knowledge.
But his recent posts on IG are not what has garnered so much attention on social media.
In a recent interview with the British news publication, The Sunday Times, the actor was asked if it’s hard to be a man in Hollywood now, due to the emergence of the #MeToo movement.
Elba’s simple, yet cutting response to question dispelled the standpoint of critics of #MeToo, who view the movement as a sweeping conspiracy-like scheme to take down all men (it’s bizarre I know, but some people actually believe this!).
Elba responded to the question perfectly, by stating,
“It’s only difficult if you’re a man with something to hide.”
The actor’s answer was quickly applauded online from the likes of TV maverick Shonda Rhimes, bad-ass filmmaker Ava DuVernay and government official, Valerie Jarrett.
While this is not the first time actors have been asked about the climate of the industry in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the rise of the TIMES UP campaign, other male actors,’ such as Matt Damon and Henry Cavill have delivered cringe-worthy responses that have necessitated public apologies.
Their responses cited a differentiation between sexual misconduct and warned the risk of certain behaviors being conflated with other behaviors.
Preach, brother. Preach. https://t.co/6x4717QY1h
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 17, 2018
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) December 16, 2018
But these responses are emphatic proof that a lot of men do not understand that these instances of sexual misconduct are systemic, not isolated incidences of abuses of power but are symptoms of an oppressive system of power.
Nonetheless, Elba’s latest statement is another example of the actor being a champion for gender equality. In 2016, Elba delivered a powerful speech to the UK’s Parliament, stressing the need for more women in Hollywood, in front of the camera and working behind the scenes.
Drawing from his own experience in the industry, Elba declared in his speech to the parliament,
“What all this taught me, is too often people get locked inside boxes. And it’s not a great place to be. Ask women, they’ll say the same thing.”
While some stars avoid commenting on the systemic issues within the industry for fear of backlash, Elba is not afraid to talk about these topical issues. He confronts them head-on.
Elba’s advocacy is indicative of the fact that throughout his career, the 46-year-old has always sought to break out categorical confines set out by the industry.