Idris Elba: Celebrating Black Excellence In Entertainment

by Duke Magazine

Idrissa Akuna “Idris” Elba is a British actor who has starred in both British and American productions. Born in 1972, he started his acting career in the soap opera Family Affairs. He has since worked in a variety of TV roles including Ultraviolet and The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. Elba is popular for playing Russell “Stringer” Bell, a Baltimore drug-lord and aspiring businessman, in HBO’s The Wire. 

Elba dubs as a DJ under the moniker DJ Big Driis / Big Driis the Londoner, and a hip-hop soul recording artist.

The London-based actor, whose parents are Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian, has had a global reach via his starring role in cult HBO series The Wire. Since then his illustrious career has repeatedly taken him to the continent for films including Sometimes in April, a movie about the Rwandan genocide; The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, filmed in Botswana; Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination; and Beasts of No Nation, shot in Ghana and based on the novel by Uzodinma Iweala. 

In 2020, Elba signed a deal in the production of series and film for Apple TV+ through his Green Door Pictures production platform. He founded Green Door in 2013 to groom new talents, while also promoting established talent to increase inclusion, representation, and diversity. In the past, he and his company have produced Concrete Cowboy, The Long Run, Elba vs. Block, and Turn Up Charlie. 

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