Actor Idris Elba took a moment out of his busy schedule recently and chatted with The Life Files about how it feels to be called a ‘sex symbol.’ Speaking in his sexy British accent he replied with the humble answer “I don’t know what it feels like to be a sex symbol.” He pushed the topic even further by saying black men are rarely referred to as being sexy. Also, he shared some valuable advice he received from Denzel Washington. Check out an excerpt and watch the interview below.
On How It Feels To Be A Sex Symbol
I always get asked this question and I don’t really have a real satisfactory answer. I don’t know what it feels like to be a sex symbol. When I wake up in the morning I see the same face. I will say this and I’ve said this in the press before, black men, we’re never called sexy, we’re called athletic, intense, we’re described as being the strong type, the silent type, but we’re never really described as sexy.
There’s a real generalization to what I’m saying. In general, the word sexy doesn’t apply to black men particular. In a script, they won’t say a sexy black man they’ll say a muscular black man, an intense black guy….good looking but they won’t say sexy. In that case the word has been thrown at me a few times so I have to say I own it, fine. If it gives me and black men another definition then great, I’ll live with that.
On advice from Denzel Washington
Denzel taught me one day…he said, “You’re doing good work. Listen, never read your own press.” I adopted that from Mr. Washington. Yes, sir I salute you no doubt because it definitely kept my perspective real. It doesn’t matter how big people say you are, you’re not as big as you are.