'Get Out' Star Daniel Kaluuya Responds to Samuel L. Jackson Comments: "I Resent That I Have to Prove I'm Black"

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Daniel Kaluuya

The British breakout said it was frustrating that to "prove that I can play this role, I have to open up about the trauma that I've experienced as a black person."

Daniel Kaluuya, the British actor and star of Jordan Peele's hit horror movie Get Out, defended his casting in the film that explores racial issues in the U.S.

Samuel L. Jackson last week wondered aloud "what that movie would have been with an American brother who really feels that."

While Jackson defended his remarks as not a criticism of black British actors but just a question about Hollywood, Kaluuya, who rose to fame in the U.K. on TV shows such as Skins and Babylon and will soon appear in Ryan Coogler's Black Panther and was recently cast as the lead in Steve McQueen's Widows, addressed the complaint.

"Big up Samuel L. Jackson, because here's a guy who has broken down doors. He has done a lot so that we can do what we can do," he told GQ.

“Here’s the thing about that critique, though. I’m dark-skinned. When I’m around black people I’m made to feel ‘other’ because I’m dark-skinned," Kaluuya continued. "I’ve had to wrestle with that, with people going, ‘You’re too black.’ Then I come to America and they say, ‘You’re not black enough.’ "

Kaluuya highlighted problems of racism in the U.K., such as riots in London that saw black people killed by the police. But he claimed that such issues weren't covered in the mainstream media, so people may have the wrong perception of what the experience was really like. 

"This is the frustrating thing...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," he said. "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. I kind of resent that mentality."

Kaluuya added: "I resent that I have to prove that I’m black. I don’t know what that is. I’m still processing it."