Idris Elba Recalls Dealing With Racism Growing Up: ‘I Felt It Full Whack’

While promoting his new Showtime series “Guerrilla”, Idris Elba opens up about how he dealt with racism as a child.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Elba, 44, recalls the time when he and fellow classmates were attacked getting on the school bus outside of his childhood school.

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Growing up, he and his family lived in Hackney, London before his parents, Eve and Winston, moved the family to the Canning Town area. Growing up in Hackney, they’d hadn’t faced it as much. “I’d been shielded from racial tension, but when we moved I felt it full whack,” he says.

“My school, Trinity, was just off the Barking Road, which would take all the National Front supporters to the football at West Ham,” he recalls.
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“They’d come past our school, and if we got on that bus on a game day. Mate, if you were Indian or black you were getting it. Eggs thrown at you, the whole thing,” he admits.

For Elba, the racism he dealt with growing up helped him sink into the role as a political leader in his new series. “Guerrilla”, set in the 1970s, centres around a pair of political activists (played by Freida Pinto and Babou Ceesay) after they freed the political leader, played by Elba.

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