Recently, Samuel L Jackson made comments about hugely successful horror flick Get Out that suggested he was annoyed a British black man was cast in the role of an African American.
Speaking about the casting of Daniel Kaluuya in the film, he said: “I think it’s great [Get Out]’s doing everything it’s doing and people are loving it. But… I know the young brother who’s in the movie, and he’s British. So, there are a lot of black British actors in these movies. I tend to wonder what that movie would have been with an American brother who really feels that.
“Daniel grew up in a country where they’ve been interracial dating for a hundred years… What would a brother from American have made of that role? I’m sure the director helped, but some things are universal, but [not everything].”
Jackson faced criticism from actors such as Star Wars alum John Boyega following the comments, and now the actor in question has stepped forward himself to respond.
Speaking to GQ, Kaluuya said: “I’m dark-skinned, bro. When I’m around black people I’m made to feel ‘other’ because I’m dark-skinned. 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.
“[Black people in the UK], the people who are the reason I’m even about to have a career, had to live in a time where they went looking for housing and signs would say, ‘NO IRISH. NO DOGS. NO BLACKS’. That’s reality. Police would round up all these black people, get them in the back of a van, and wrap them in blankets so their bruises wouldn’t show when they beat them. That’s the history that London has gone through.
“The Brixton riots, the Tottenham riots, the 2011 riots, because black people were being killed by police. That’s what’s happening in London. But it’s not in the mainstream media. Those stories aren’t out there like that. So people get an idea of what they might think the experience is.”
He added: “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. 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 resent that I have to prove that I’m black. I don’t know what that is. I’m still processing it.”
The comments come just before it was revealed the film’s writer-director Jordan Peele had become the first black writer-director to earn $100 million for his movie debut at the box office, picking up big profits having had a modest budget of $4.5 million.
Get Out officially hits UK cinemas on March 17, 2017.