*BBC diversity executive Miranda Wayland is facing criticism for saying Idris Elba’s popular crime series “Luther” is not “authentic” because the character doesn’t have any Black friends.
Per Entertainment Tonight, speaking at the digital MIPTV conference Wayland explained, “When [‘Luther’] first came out everybody loved the fact that Idris Elba was in there — a really strong, Black character lead. We all fell in love with him. Who didn’t, right? But after you got into about the second series you got kind of like, ‘OK, he doesn’t have any Black friends, he doesn’t eat any Caribbean food, this doesn’t feel authentic.”
Wayland continued, “It’s great having those big landmark shows with those key characters, but it’s about making sure everything around them, their environment, their culture, the set is absolutely reflective. It will be very much about how can we make sure that this program is authentic in terms of the storytelling.”
— BBC Luther (@bbcluther) January 9, 2019
To her point, I have to agree. When “Luther” first aired, I recall watching the first few episodes before calling it quits. It became quite clear immediately that Luther was going to be yet another Black man with no connection to his roots but stays entangled with white women. #Pass.
Many “Luther” fans disagree with Wayland’s view of the series. Per MSN, Calvin Robinson, commentator for The Telegraph and Daily Mail UK, wrote on Twitter, “Yesterday, it was implied I’m not black enough because I didn’t have any black friends in my photo. Today, BBC’s diversity chief says Luther ‘isn’t black enough’ because ‘he doesn’t have any black friends.’ These lazy stereotypes are racist!”
Robinson continued, “Great thing about Luther is that his skin color isn’t the core of his identity. He’s fighting many battles. An example that we’re all human, we all struggle, but our ethnicity doesn’t always play a part in that. That’s diversity, Miranda Wayland. Equality!”
Femi Oluwole, a writer for The Independent and London Economic, noted, “The police turn on Luther every chance they get. How is that NOT an authentic black character?”
I don’t think Femi and Calvin really get Wayland’s point. I get it, which is why I don’t watch the show.
Meanwhile, Idris Elba has confirmed that he’s taking Luther to the big screen with a feature film that’s slated to start filming this year.