Riding high on the success of Get Out, actor Daniel Kaluuya has come down to address Samuel L. Jackson’s disparaging remarks about Black English actors.
The always outspoken Jackson made headlines last week when he called out Hollywood directors for casting British lead actors instead of American ones. He specifically spoke on Jordan Peele’s casting of Kaluuya and Ava DuVernay‘s casting of David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma. He felt that African-American actors could have related to those characters better. But, he also said that English actors are “cheaper” than American ones, which is why they may get more lead roles too.
Kaluuya took exception to Jackson’s remarks and responded to them in an interview with GQ.
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!…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.”
Jackson clarified his statements, saying he was critiqing how Hollywood works sometimes, not the actors themselves.