“It’s important to know who you are as an actor or you’re bound for failure. In Hollywood, power is when someone does not have to green-light your projects. I have popularity but not so much power.” - Idris Elba
For all of the power Idris Elba says he lacks in Hollywood, this British actor surely makes up for it by having major influence -- which he uses for good, in underserved communities throughout England.
Elba is currently an anti-crime ambassador for Prince’s Trust, a U.K. based organization that provides career training, employment, mentoring and personal development skills to at-risk, disadvantaged and offending or ex-offending young people aged 14-30.
Idris Elba supports the programs at Prince’s Trust through various activities including round-table discussions, film events and fundraising efforts -- as a way to give back to the very people who believed in his potential as an actor; and to inspire young people to believe in themselves.
When Idris Elba was a teenager, he won a place in the National Youth Musical Theatre (NYMT) based in London. A $1,500 grant from Prince’s Trust helped him further develop his acting skills at NYMT. It is at the National Youth Musical Theatre that Elba began to take acting seriously with regards to a career pursuit.
After successfully landing acting roles in his hometown, Elba saved up some money from working at his other job -- as a wedding DJ -- and moved to the United States. He struggled to find work here in the U.S. for three years, particularly the kind of roles that he wanted to play. So, Elba supported himself financially by working nights as a DJ in New York.
Even now as he sports accolades for stellar acting performances in major primetime crime dramas such as HBO’s “The Wire” and BBC’s “Luther,” Idris Elba still maintains a love for music -- DJing celebrity parties and releasing R&B/Soul/Pop albums under the name Driis. He also co-produced and performed on the into to rapper Jay-Z’s “American Gangster” album.
All music and acting aside, Idris Elba changes lives by being someone who leads by example -- going after his dreams full-force rather than wondering what-could-have-been while botching Ford Fiestas during a night shift at an auto manufacturing plant. His confidence is powerful enough to show young people the possibilities of what happens when you believe in yourself, and no green light in Hollywood can make or break that -- it comes from within -- although, a little nudge from community-centered organizations like Prince’s Trust doesn’t hurt either!
Do YOU think Idris Elba would play a convincing James Bond?
What were YOUR favorite fields of study during your teenage years?