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Samuel L. Jackson accused Hollywood of giving more roles to Black British actors over African American ones

Paula Rogo
Aug, 04, 2017

Remember when Samuel L. Jackson accused Black British actors of taking roles from their African-American colleagues?

“They don’t cost as much,” he said earlier in the year. “Unless you’re an unknown brother that they’re finding somewhere. They think they’re better-trained, for some reason, than we are because they’re classically trained. I don’t know what the love affair is with all that. It’s all good.”

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ESSENCE August cover star, Idris Elba, who is in full promotion mode for his latest movie The Dark Tower said that the comments disappointed him: "We are dissected as a people; why dissect us any further as a comment that’s as stupid as that?” he told The Root in an interview.

He added: “Black actors all over the world look at Samuel L. Jackson as a great actor that happens to black. The idea that he can dissect us into English actors that are black, stealing roles from American actors, is really ignorant and made of things that divide us instead of pulling us together.” 

Jackson's comments were in response to Daniel Kaluuya’s star-turn in Get Out in March 2017: “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," he said. "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.”

He finished: “Some things are universal, but everything ain’t.”

Kaluuya had his own response to Jackson at the time, saying that racism is universal:  “I go into a f—ing shop and I’m followed by a security guard. Since I was 12. I don’t have to look for it. It finds me."