Actor Daniel Kaluuya is a bit confused and upset over Samuel L. Jackson’s criticism about his latest role in Jordan Peele’s comedy-horror film, Get Out.
Jackson appeared on New York’s Hot 97 and wondered aloud what the film would have been like if an American ‘brother’ had the role. “I tend to wonder what that movie would have been with an American brother who really feels that,” he said. “Daniel grew up in a country where they’ve been interracial dating for 100 years. What would a brother from America have made of that role? Some things are universal but [not everything is].”
Jackson later said he wasn’t slamming British actors but instead casting directors and producers who seemingly hire Black British actors over African-American actors.
Kaluuya responded to the comments in an interview with GQ Magazine on Monday. “Big up Samuel L Jackson, because here’s a guy who has broken down doors. He has done a lot so that we can do what we can do,” Kaluuya said.
“Here’s the thing about that critique, though. I’m dark-skinned. When I’m around black people I’m made to feel ‘other’ because I’m dark-skinned. 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.’”
Kaluuya went on to detail the history of racism in London, much of which, he explained, isn’t always seen in the mainstream media. But said his biggest frustration is having to open up about the trauma he’s experienced as a black person in order to prove he can play a part.
“I have to show off my struggle so that people accept that I’m black …I’m just an individual,” he noted. “I resent that I have to prove that I’m black. I don’t know what that is. I’m still processing it.”
Peele recently told The Guardian that while he “didn’t want to go with a British actor because this movie was so much about representation of the African-American experience,” talking with Kaluuya made him understand how universal the struggles of racism are.