Wednesday, August 20, 2008

  • in In Praise of Black British Male Actors

    You may not have noticed that a good number of Black male actors that we see on television and films, are not African Americans. They are, in fact, Black British men. As a serious lover of all things British, especially men, I certainly did. I affectionately call these lovely guys Brifrican (a contraction of British and Black African-descent, which never fails to make my sister giggle). Who are some of my favorite of these distinguished actors? Well if their names are not familiar, I am sure that you may recognize their faces.

  • Adrian Lester: This dreamboat appeared on the American scene years ago when he co-starred in Primary Colors, but has been very prolific in British TV, movie, and theater, notably playing Henry V in Shakespeare. I thought he was terribly cute when I saw him in Love's Labours Lost, which I think is the time when my crush began. I was very pleased to see him playing Mickey Bricks on the joint BBC and A&E show Hustle. Adrian also played the musician Orpheus in the Hallmark miniseries Jason and the Argonauts. Some may recognize him from playing Joan's actor boyfriend on Girlfriends. He also had a smaller role in The Day After Tomorrow. He was looking pretty good in the HBO Movie As You Like It. He also had a small, but contributory to the narrative, role in Dust with dreamboats Joseph Fiennes and David Wenham. He is a particular favorite of mine.

  • Colin Salmon: Most moviewatchers would recognize him as playing the second in command to Bond's commander M in the some of the more recent James Bond movies. He was also in Aliens V. Predator and Resident Evil. If you had the chance to watch the wonderful but short lived Fox show Keen Eddie, he was the Superintendent on there. If you watch BBC shows, you've probably seen him on Doctor Who, Hex, and Bad Girls as well. He was in The Bank Job with Jason Statham, and can be seen in the upcoming Punisher: War Zone. Colin is the very emodiment of tall, dark, and handsome, with a very elegant and stately presence in all his roles.

  • Eamonn Walker: He was in Tears of the Sun, on the HBO Oz (which I am too squeamish to watch despite missing all the full frontal male nudity), and also on the great but shortlived show Justice. He has also had smaller roles in US TV and film. Eamonn is the first Black actor to play Othello at the Globe Theater in Britain. He is a very attractive man with a regal presence which always distinguishes him in everything I've seen him in.

  • Idris Elba first caught my attention on the BBC miniseries Ultraviolet. It was love at first sight. He is beautiful and has a lovely British accent (a double whammy), combined with being a great actor. Most people know him from The Wire (which I didn't watch because I don't really like the subject manner). He has also starred in Hollywood movies such as Daddy's Little Girls, 28 Weeks Later, This Christmas, Prom Night, the HBO movie about the Rwandan genocide Sometimes in April, The Gospel, The Reaping, and the upcoming Guy Ritchie film RockNRolla. The man is gorgeous, although I really miss his British accent that he doesn't use in his American moves. Incidentally, he's also a DJ and a hip hop artist in the UK.

  • David Oyelowo has the cutest baby face, which attracted my attention on the BBC spy show MI-5 (Spooks in the UK). He is an excellent actor with incredible presence, in addition to his devastating good looks. He has also been in the HBO movie As You Like It, playing opposite Dallas Bryce Howard. David is a renowned Shakespearean theater actor, and he is the first Black male to play a British king in Shakespeare when he played King Henry VI. He appeared (lovely as always) in the Hollywood movie A Sound of Thunder, and will play Muddy Waters in Chess. He's a real cutie.

  • Lennie James is another notable Black British actor. He has starred in American movies such as The Mummy Returns, but also played a pivotal role on the ill-fated TV show Jericho. His acting skills are incredible, because I loved him in The Mummy Returns, but disliked him equally as much, but gained respect for his character of Robert Hawkins on Jericho. He was also in the awesome Guy Ritchie movie Snatch, as well as Sahara. I thought he was great in the BBC tv movie Frances Tuesday. Lennie also played Oberon in the ShakespeaRe-Told version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He is a chameleon and manages to play each role with grace.

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor: He is an elegant, soft-spoken actor of incredible power. My sister and I find him very dreamy. His complete belief in what he was doing as the Operative in Serenity was chilling, as he was clearly on the wrong side. He broke through as a film actor in Dirty, Pretty Things, in which his performance was critically acclaimed. Chiwetel was part of the ensemble cast of the British film Love Actually, and played a cross-dresser in the British film Kinky Boots. He is a renowed Shakespearean actor, and has been seen in American movies such as Talk to Me, American Gangster, Four Brothers, Slow Burn, Inside Man, and Children of Men.

  • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: With his large, fit physique, he makes a very imposing figure. This is probably why he has been cast as villains a lot, notably in The Mummy Returns. Nevertheless, he is a very good actor, who happens to have a law degree. Adewale has done his turn on the HBO show Oz (if only it was my cup of tea) and was stranded on the island in the tv show Lost. Adewale was seen in Congo, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, The Bourne Identity, and Get Rich or Die Tryin'. He will co-star in the upcoming (and eagerly awaited by me) G.I. Joe live action movie as Heavy Duty.

Well, I hope that I have introduced you to some of my favorite Brifricans. I would like to thank them for their contributions to American and British cinema, television, and theater. And also, thanks for enriching my life since I clearly watch too much of the first two categories.



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