Idris Elba Doesn't Get Sex Symbol Status

Idris Elba Doesn't Get Sex Symbol Status

Actor says Black men are never called sexy.

Published August 12, 2011

During his interview with The Life Files, actor Idris Elba revealed that he doesn’t know what it’s like to be a sex symbol. Such a comment may surprise the legion of fans who openly swoon at the sight of the British actor. Idris’ humility was explained as, “When I wake up in the morning I see the same face. I will say this and I’ve said this in the press before, Black men, we’re never called sexy, we’re called athletic, intense, we’re described as being the strong type, the silent type, but we’re never really described as sexy.”


He also added, “In a script, they won’t say a sexy Black man they’ll say a muscular Black man, an intense Black guy…good looking but they won’t say sexy. In that case the word has been thrown at me a few times so I have to say I own it, fine. If it gives me and Black men another definition then great, I’ll live with that.”


The rising star also shared the advice he learned from Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington. Idris said, “Denzel taught me one day…he said, ‘You’re doing good work. Listen, never read your own press.’ I adopted that from Mr. Washington. Yes, sir, I salute you, no doubt, because it definitely kept my perspective real. It doesn’t matter how big people say you are, you’re not as big as you are.”

(Photo: Adrian Sidney/PictureGroup)

Written by Michael Arceneaux


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