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Idris Elba Not Happy with Sierra Leone

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Idris Elba Not Happy with Sierra Leone


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Idrissa, as he was baptized (he shortened it to Idris while at school), was the only child of a father from Sierra Leone and a mother from Ghana, living on the racially diverse Holly Street Estate in Hackney. Such families were all but invisible in the television comedy and drama of the day.

Born in 1972, Elba would have been (luckily for him, perhaps) too young to catch ITV’s hugely popular sitcom Love Thy Neighbor, which looked at the tensions that arose when a Tory-voting West Indian couple moved in next door to a white working-class socialist – the studio audience beside themselves as the characters casually traded unprintable racial epithets that would today probably constitute a hate crime.

Elba would also have been too young to enjoy ITV’s The Fosters, the first all-black British sitcom and best remembered now as the first screen role for a young Lenny Henry. Featuring a West Indian couple and their three British-born children, The Fosters was almost totally reliant on slightly modified scripts from an American comedy series, Good Times, and therefore might easily have been set in Philadelphia or Baltimore rather than London. It had nothing specific to say to the black British experience.

Speaking on his thoughts about the current political issues in Sierra Leone, Idris Elba stated that he is totally against tribal, ethnic and regional politics being preached and spread by politicians in the country.

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