Idris Elba may be known for dynamic acting roles and occasionally rocking the mic as a a rapper and DJ, but he is also very aware of the injustices that occur in his hometown of London. The actor addressed an alarming rise in knife crime in a heartfelt Instagram post Friday.
Elba admitted while knife crime was common when he was growing up, things have taken a dangerous turn. “Knife crime is not new. I grew up in the Eighties and there was knife crime back then, between Blacks and Whites,” he explained. “And now it’s definitely between young Black men in small, tiny communities. And it’s affecting everyone, we all look stupid.”
The actor urged his peers to join in on the fight against knife crime. “We have to say something about this. Entertainers that are out there, there’s young people that look up to us, we need to vocalize this. Send a message out there: Put the knives down. It’s dumb.”
He added, “We don’t need to be killing ourselves. We have so much more to offer.”
Elba used his Instagram caption to share shocking statistics surrounding knife crime.
In 2018, England and Wales saw a rise in knife crime for the fourth consecutive year, reports the BBC. The New York Times attributes the rise in knife crime to cuts to social services programs like youth centers and interventions for children expelled from school.
This isn’t the first time the actor used his platform to address London’s knife crime problem.
In 2018, Elba offered a warning to young people while attending the premiere of his directorial debut Yardie. “Look in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘Where do you want to end up It is really clear. You can end up in jail for stabbing someone,” he said in a statement to The Sunday Mirror. “Put the knife down, go somewhere else and make a career.”
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Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.