Actor Daniel Kaluuya doesn’t think he should have to prove his blackness.
In a new interview with GQ magazine, the “Get Out” star shared his thoughts on Samuel L. Jackson’s recent critique that black British actors may not be able to relate to black Americans. For Kaluuya, Jackson’s comments reflect his personal experiences of being ostracized in different settings for being dark-skinned.
“When I’m around black people I’m made to feel ‘other’ because I’m dark-skinned,” he said. “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.”
The actor went on to add that similar to black Americans’ vast range of social issues, the London’s black community has confronted oppression, prejudice, and police brutality.
Since Jackson’s much-discussed statements ― which drew criticism from British actor John Boyega ― made headlines last week, Jackson later told the Associated Press that his comments were not necessarily a “slam” towards the performers, but rather an assessment about how “Hollywood works in an interesting sort of way sometimes.”
Despite Jackson’s commentary, Kaluuya says it’s not his intent to be a “culture vulture “ of the black American experience, but rather focus on telling black stories.
“This is the frustrating thing, 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,” he said. “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…I kind of resent that mentality. I’m just an individual.”
Read more of Daniel Kaluuya’s GQ magazine interview here.