Idris Elba Too Street

By: Nydja Hood

 

Anthony Horowitz, author of the original James Bond novel series, has faced a lot of

backlash recently for his controversial comments in the media surrounding speculation

about actor Idris Elba portraying the iconic character on the big screen. Horowitz told the Daily Mail in a recent interview, “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not colour issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”

 

Even though Horowitz attempted to detach a racist connotation from his comments,

many people were still not convinced. The word “street” did not settle well with

people on social media, who persisted that it is a racially stereotypical term

nonetheless, believing there was subliminal meaning to Horowitz’s commentary.

Fellow writers didn’t respond favorably to the comments. Columnist, cultural critic

and editor Jamilah Lemieux tweeted, “Is ‘street’ the UK’s version of ‘urban’ in terms of

coded racism? Idris Elba is a lot of things, but ‘street’ ain’t one of ‘em.”

 

The “007” author has since apologized for his comments on Twitter, declaring that it

was not his intention to “cause offence,” however, the situation at hand has definitely

displayed how word choice could subconsciously perpetuate racist stereotypes.

There are still questions surrounding where Horowitz gathered his conception about

Idris’ “street-like” image. Was it based off of the roles that he’s seen Elba has portrayed

throughout his career? Perhaps it could have been Horowitz’s perception of Elba’s off-

screen persona that convinced him he was not a good fit for James Bond.

 

Even though the official James Bond casting choice has yet to be confirmed, one could

hope that racial stereotypes do not influence the casting director’s ultimate decision in

who scores the role.

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