Now was probably not the right time to call a black man “too street” in any sentiment, even if that man is established actor Idris Elbra. New James Bond novelist Anthony Horowitz recently told the Daily Mail in an interview that “The Wire” actor was “probably a bit too street for Bond” in response to fans who favor him to become the first black 007.
Through the ever-relentless wrath of Twitter, Horowitz learned the hard way that his choice of words was probably not one of his best decisions. Whatever his intentions were behind the comment, many took “too street” to mean that Elba was “too black” for the role of the sexy, suave, secret agent whom the world has only ever known as white, which holds so many complicated implications.
It didn’t take very long for Horowitz to address the uproar, taking to Twitter to apologize for his seemingly racist comments. He tweeted:
“I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offence. That wasn’t my intention. I was asked in my interview if Idris Elba would make a good James Bond. In the article I expressed the opinion that to my mind Adrian Lester would be a better choice, but I’m a writer not a casting director so what do I know? Clumsily, I chose the word ‘street’ as Elba’s gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind but I admit it was a poor choice of word. I am mortified to have caused offence.”
Well, to my mind Twitter is Twitter and that means its users tend to thrive on controversy and entertainment of this sort. Horowitz’ apology seems more than genuine and his mistake is justified given Elba’s portrayal of John Luther. Street and black do not have to intertwine in meaning and if Horowitz prefers a white man to play Bond, then so be it. I imagine people will still buy tickets to see the movie and will have little objection if the man chosen is white and a phenomenal talent. On the other hand, there are some very sensitive people out there given all of the negative connotations surrounding black people at the moment and the word street can be easily misconstrued to mean something that is racially driven.
The mistake has been made. The apology has been issued. And now it’s time to move on, until the next Twitter drama.