Last week, Samuel L. Jackson made some controversial remarks about British actors. When discussing the casting of Daniel Kaluuya for the American film Get Out, Jackson had this to say:
“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. 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… So what would a brother from America made of that role? I’m sure the director helped. Some things are universal, but everything ain’t.”
Kaluuya responded to Jackson in a recent interview with GQ magazine, reminding him that being Black and enduring racism is a global experience. He states, “You’re getting singled out for the color of your skin, but not the content of your spirit, and that’s everywhere.” Kaluuya elaborated, “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.”
Kaluuya further expresses his otherness no matter what space he’s in. He explained, “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!”
Many showed contempt for Jackson’s remarks, including British actor and Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega.
Even Facebook users called out Jackson, to which he responded with understanding.
It seems like the film star knows how to sit back and listen when appropriate. Hopefully, Kaluuya added extra clarity so Black American actors can make amends with their British counterparts.