The event was held Thursday night at the Paul Robeson Center of Rutgers University’s Newark campus. The lecture was moderated by Baraka Sele, the current assistant vice president of programming of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), according to UrbanDaily.com.
Sele and Elba discussed everything from his solid middle class beginnings in East London and his upcoming projects to the current state of black cinema in Hollywood.
When asked about this year’s so-called “white out” at the Oscars, the controversy over his role in “Thor,” and his thoughts on Spike Lee vs. Tyler Perry, Elba spoke from the heart.
– On the Golden Globes and this year’s Oscar “white-out:”
“Halle Berry and I were the only two black actors nominated for this year’s Golden Globes (Idris for the BBC mini-series “Luther” and Berry for “Frankie & Alice”). The Oscars aren’t designed for us … let’s focus on making more films.”
– On the controversy surrounding his role as Heimdall, in the upcoming “Thor:”
“It’s so ridiculous. We have a man (Thor) who has a flying hammer, and wears horns on his head and yet me being an actor of African descent playing a Norse god is unbelievable? I mean, Cleopatra was played by Elizabeth Taylor, and Ghandi was played by Ben Kingsley.”
– On the Spike Lee vs. Tyler Perry debate:
“Can I be candid?” he asked before turning to face the audience directly. “I don’t like all of Tyler Perry’s films. Yes, I did work with Tyler for ‘Daddy’s Little Girls’ because it portrayed a positive image of a black father. I am happy for Tyler’s success; we need Tyler Perry … by going to support his movies, we need to show economic strength. But we are also responsible for elevating film. I’m not with buffoonish characters like Madea or Big Momma.”