Africa.com’s Teresa Clarke Speaks To Idris Elba At The US-Africa Leaders Summit

During the US Africa Leaders Summit that took place in Washington D.C. Africa.com’s CEO Teresa Clarke had the chance to speak with Award winning actor Idris Elba.

Teresa Clarke: So, Indris can you please tell us, What brings you to this event?


Idris Elba: You know, I’ve been invited to this event, which I think is a landmark summit. It’s nice to have it back. It’s great for Africa, to realign its relationships with the U.S. I stand as a proud member of the diaspora that has a voice and it feels like my presence is welcomed here.So, that’s why am here.


Teresa Clarke: That’s fantastic! and sincerely you know that as a celebrity, it helps to bring more attention to want it’s being done here. Do you feel like that’s part of a responsibility as part of the guest?


Idris Elba: I mean, it’s definitely part of the reason why I’ve been asked to come is because I have a voice to make an impact. But also I think it’s good to just show for selfish reasons that I really want to see Africa strengthen, be innovative in its thinking and show support for each other. This isn’t a handout for aid. This is a handout for better partnerships, innovative strategic partnerships.


Teresa Clarke: When you think about the creative industries, what’s going on for example, in Nollywood, do you think that the world has the best appreciation for Nollywood? Is not only that it’s well connected to Hollywood. What other ways can we make that connection in that market grow?

Idris Elba: Look, I think Nollywood is an incredible story.It’s an incredible success story. Nollywood  contributes to a $5 billion African industry. It contributes to alot and I would like to see more recognition internationally for Nollywood. Though it’s a process. We look at other parts of the world, Korean Film Festival film industry has also had an emerging journey and has gotten stronger and stronger. So the world starts to recognize these markets where film has an important role to play in their cultural language and cultural offering. Film has a massive role to play in Africa’s cultural offering and development of Africa, and, I think we are seeing that where U.S.and UK streaming services are recognizing Nollywood films. These are all great forward steps.

For someone who has been in the film industry for a long time, I have made many films in the African continent. I am so happy to see that there’s a real sort of energy around it. I think people in the music industry recognize that African music has seen a huge upsurge and is celebrating that now, and I think film has that same sort of momentum.


Teresa Clarke: Can you talk about your personal connection to the continent. Where would you like to go? Where do you feel most welcomed?


Idris Elba: You know my parents come from Sierra Leone and then Ghana. So obviously I like to go to Sierra Leone and Ghana, especially around summer and Christmas is a beautiful place to go. But I have been all over the continent Kenya, South Africa. All these places have really beautiful energy. Am kind of selfish, I want to go all over Africa. I feel like a complete son of the soil, not just one part but all of it. When I played Nelson Mandela, I remember going to South Africa, and South Africa claiming me as part of them. Everywhere I go in Africa, it feels like that’s fun.

Thank you so much


Teresa Clarke: Thank you very much.

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