Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out has drawn both critical acclaim and box office success for its transformation of racial awkwardness and aggression into the world of outright horror. Now, the film’s star, Daniel Kaluuya, has responded to a criticism from actor Samuel L. Jackson, who recently questioned why a British man was cast in a film about American racism.
Kaluuya responded to Jackson’s thoughts during a wider interview with GQ, often dipping into his own confrontations with racism, both subtle and overt. First crediting Jackson’s contributions to opening the way for black actors on film, Kaluuya then questioned the idea of having to “prove that he’s black” in order to play the part.
Let me say, I’m not trying to culture-vulture the thing. I empathize. That script spoke to me. I just want to tell black stories.
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? I kind of resent that mentality. I’m just an individual. I resent that I have to prove that I’m black. I don’t know what that is. I’m still processing it.
You can read the whole interview—including Kaluuya’s recounting of a trip to Lithuania in which he “felt like Moses,” parting seas of curious white people at a supermarket—right here.