Daniel Kaluuya Responds To Criticism of Black British Actors Taking Work In The U.S.
The world has endorsed Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, Get Out, with both word of mouth and millions of dollars. But you know the rules, there’s no such thing as a work of art that’s above criticism. Despite that one negative review, the only other major source of bad criticism for Get Out came from Samuel L. Jackson who took the opportunity to speak out on how he feels Black British actors are taking jobs from African American actors during an interview with Hot 97:
I know the young brother who’s in the movie, and he’s British,” Jackson said. “There are a lot of black British actors that work in this country. All the time. I tend to wonder what would that movie have been with an American brother who really understands that in a way. Because Daniel grew up in a country where they’ve been interracial dating for a hundred years. Britain, there’s only about eight real white people left in Britain … what would a brother from America have made of that role? I’m sure the director helped. Some things are universal, but everything ain’t.
His comments were in reference to Daniel Kaluuya, who’s British, portraying an African American man in the film. Kaluuya was recently interviewed by GQ and responded to Jackson’s comments and spoke on the universal experience of being Black as well as many other things.
“Here’s the thing about that critique, though. I’m dark-skinned, bro.,” said Kaluuya. “When I’m around black people, I’m made to feel ‘other’ because I’m dark-skinned. I’ve had to wrestle with that, with people going, ‘You’re too black.’ Then I come to America, and they say, ‘You’re not black enough.’ I go to Uganda, I can’t speak the language. In India, I’m black. In the black community, I’m dark-skinned. In America, I’m British. Bro!”
Kaluuya went on to explain that Black people in the United States, or any one place, don’t have a monopoly on the struggles of racism.
“You’re getting singled out for the color of your skin, but not the content of your spirit, and that’s everywhere,” he said. “That’s my whole life, being seen as ‘other.’ Not fitting in in Uganda, not Britain, not America. They just highlight whatever feature they want.”
“I really respect African-American people. I just want to tell black stories,” Kaluuya continued. “This is the frustrating thing, bro—in order to prove that I can play this role, I have to open up about the trauma that I’ve experienced as a black person. I have to show off my struggle so that people accept that I’m black. No matter that every single room I go to I’m usually the darkest person there. You know what I’m saying? I kind of resent that mentality. I’m just an individual. Just because you’re black, you taken and used to represent something. It mirrors what happens in the film. I resent that I have to prove that I’m black. I don’t know what that is. I’m still processing it.”