Idris Hasn't Let Us Down Yet
Idris Elba took a quick trip into wokeness this weekend when he told the Sunday Times that being a man in Hollywood in the #metoo era is “only difficult if you’re a man with something to hide.”
Now, a lot of people like Idris. I guess he’s alright looking. And yeah, apparently he’s recognized that not being a sexual predator is pretty easy. But that’s not what I, a weird person with niche interests, have enjoyed most about him over the years. So come in closer and I’ll tell you a bit of the Legend of Stringer Bell.
1. He acted before 2002 I GUESS, but we all know that Idris Elba really sprang into life complete as Stringer Bell, the true heart of HBO’s in The Wire. I lived in Baltimore right after that show came out (Baltimore is amazing, fuck you, it IS the greatest city in America) and Idris Elba was a revelation. The Shakespeareans in my grad school cohort used to talk about how Shakespearean he was. They were assholes, it turns out, but Idris is still amazing. Those eyebrows. That quick smirk. That mostly decent American accent.
2. He works to bring representations of the African diaspora to the mainstream. He’s appeared in, directed, or produced works about Caribbean immigrants to London, West African child soldiers, Nelson Mandela, and his own family. Just for you, I watched the first episode of the latter, in which Idris plays a fictional version of his own father. It’s a steady infusion of 80s nostalgia, and, to my surprise, a really entertaining family sitcom. For fans of British comedy, it also features ubiquitous side-man Bill Bailey. I’m actually going to watch more of this when I finish slogging through Westworld.
3. In 2014 he tweeted about being sexually aroused and I don’t think anyone has ever recovered from that.
4. He is a DJ and a musician. Or, I should say, he is a passable DJ and an abominable musician. He sounds like a cross between Frank Sinatra and William Shatner, and these lyrics from his 2011 song “Secret Garden” ruined my year:
When you let your guard down
Let this brother enter
Your private garden
Uh can I assist you
With your problems girl?
Let me show you way to celebrate your life
I will be gentle with you, I will be gentle with you
Just let me show you
I won't hurt you know
I’ll never hurt you
I won't hurt you, no
I’ll never hurt you
5. This no-context tweet from November
There’s a backstory, which I found with a little bit of digging, but I won’t burden you with it.
6. This video of him reading Blake’s 1794 poem “London”
7. I’m pretty gay but uh
Idris, you did good this week. But the pool of men who aren’t abusive grows smaller day by day; it would be great if we could keep this one. Don’t let us down, my dude. LET US HAVE THIS.