Daniel Kaluuya is tired of being asked about how his race factors into his work.
In a recent interview with the U.K.’s Radio Times, the Queen & Slim star, 30, told the outlet that it’s “boring” to repeatedly be asked about the topic.
“What is there to talk about race?” said Kaluuya. “It’s just boring to me. What’s the debate? I’m more of a doer — I’m just going to do what I want to do.”
With standout performances in films like 2017’s Get Out and 2018’s smash-hit Black Panther that focus on themes of racial identity and racism, he’s frequently asked to comment on the matter, but Kaluuya said there’s more to him than that.
“I’m not going to ignore that I’m surrounded by [racism], but I’m not defined by it,” he said, adding, “I’m just Daniel, who happens to be black.”
In 2018, the London-born actor previously told The Guardian about his frustrations with having to elaborate on complicated topics as if he speaks for all black people.
“I’m not a spokesperson, I’m an individual,” Kaluuya said at the time. “Who’s the spokesperson for white people? There isn’t one. No one’s expected to speak up for all white people. I’m just living my life. I’m a black man, I’m proud of it, but I’m just living my life.”
Back when Jordan Peele‘s Get Out took hold of the zeitgeist three years ago and brought issues of racism to the forefront, Kaluuya faced some criticism for playing the role that landed him an Oscar nomination.
When Samuel L. Jackson suggested at the time that Kaluuya wasn’t as suited for the role as African American actor might have been, Kaluuya responded by saying he resents having to “prove that I’m black.”
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“When I’m around black people, I’m made to feel ‘other’ because I’m dark-skinned,” he told GQ at the time. “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. Bro!”
Kaluuya went on to reference the racism that he and other black people have experienced in England, including police violence similar to events that have taken place in the U.S., which he explores in his most recent movie Queen & Slim alongside British actress Jodie Turner-Smith.
“I really respect African American people. I just want to tell black stories,” he said. “This is the frustrating thing, bro — 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. You know what I’m saying?”
He added: “I kind of resent that mentality. I’m just an individual.”