Samuel L Jackson hit a nerve in the Twittersphere when he basically said there were too many black Brits in Hollywood. He’s right, there are a lot of black Brits in Hollywood (David Oyelowo, Thandie Newton, Naomie Harris, Steve McQueen and we could go on). But are there too many? And are they doing their job well?
It all started when Jackson suggested, in an interview with the New York radio station Hot 97, that the horror film Get Out might have been better with an American actor as the lead part. AKA not our beloved Daniel Kaluuya.
‘There are a lot of black British actors in these movies,’ Jackson said. ‘I tend to wonder what that movie [Get Out] would have been with an American brother who really feels that.’
Jackson seems to have forgotten his job: he’s an ACTOR and is therefore paid to pretend he feels stuff.
Daniel Kaluuya decided to respond to Samuel L Jackson’s comments in an interview in GQ. He expertly skewered how silly it is to start drawing these kind of distinctions:
‘I really respect African-American people. I just want to tell black stories. 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.’
When I’m around black people I’m made to feel “other” because I’m dark-skinned.
His comments also go to show WHY the film is so successful: it may focus on an individual story but it has universal ramifications. It speaks to the horror that any kind of racism can unleash:
‘Here’s the thing about that critique, though. I’m dark-skinned, bro. 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!’
We can’t help but agree: Samuel L is a ledge but he needs to pipe down!