Opinion

Bond can be black, too

Rumors about the casting of Idris Elba as the next James Bond, a role most recently occupied by Daniel Craig, have caused somewhat of an uproar on the Internet over the past couple of months. Why? Elba would be an African American actor assuming a role that has been historically played by white men. “He was white and Scottish. Period. That is who James Bond is and was,” said conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh.

Race in film is a sensitive, polarizing topic that requires a type of nuance lacking in the Twitter-sphere. Many Internet denizens believe that casting a black actor as Bond undermines the character’s identity. Social media users like @Rob_Simple have voiced their concerns that “Idris Elba WOULD make a great James Bond except for the fact that he’s black and James Bond isn’t.” Some argue that casting Elba would be a gimmick to appease liberal audiences.

However, 007, unlike many other fictional characters, is more of a concept than an actual person. He’s an embodiment of suave, British sex appeal mixed with the lethality and thrilling lifestyle of an international spy. It’s not who Bond is so much as what Bond is. And, as we’ve seen over the course of Bond’s lengthy cinematic career, he is not confined to the cultural ideals of any particular era. Bond has evolved over time as our culture’s ideal of a sexy, skilled secret agent has changed.

This transformation illustrates that outside of the basic identity (of a character who is talented, suave and sexually appealing), there really isn’t anything specific that defines Bond. Each actor has brought something unique to the role with their entirely distinct personalities. Even their nationalities have been subject to change (Connery, who originated the role, was the only Scottish Bond to date). For all intents and purposes, Daniel Craig’s Bond is an entirely different person from Pierce Brosnan’s or Sean Connery’s Bond, though they all share those same essential Bond mannerisms.

So, in this day and age, why can’t a black man be Bond? Or, for that matter, must Bond even be a man? With concepts of race and gender becoming ever more fluid, perhaps the Bond of today is better off looking different than the Bond of the 60s and 70s. Perhaps, creatively speaking, altering Bond’s race or even gender is the next step in creating a Bond for this modern age.

Ultimately, though, the guiding factor in who Bond is should be left up to the creatives assigned to the job. It is an artist’s vision that creates compelling characters and stories. So let the minds behind the wheel of the Bond franchise make their own call, or else we could end up with a more diverse yet creatively inert 007 – an unfruitful trade-off.

Andrew Allen is a sophomore majoring in communications.

February 18, 2015

Reporters

Andrew Allen


ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Bond can be black, too”

  1. Henry Canes says:

    I think we have become hypersensitive as a society. Why not just create a new narrative that involves an African-American? Instead of piggy-backing on the work of others, this would provide an opportunity for the community to create something with their own identity.

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami coach Jim Larranaga is staying on the Hurricanes while they keep piling up wins. Dewan Huell h ...

Shakey Rodriguez, the Miami high school basketball coaching legend, vividly remembers the first time ...

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

William W. Sandler Jr. Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education earns national recognition for it ...

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez gives "Major League" advice to UM’s fall graduating c ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

Dewan Huell recorded his second double-double of the season as Miami improved to 9-0 with a 59-50 wi ...

The Miami women's basketball team begins play at the Puerto Rico Classic Monday against Sacrame ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team capped its seven-game homestand with a 79-31 wi ...

University of Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios earned 2017 first-team 2017 CoSIDA Academic ...

USA Diving announced the recipients of its annual awards at a ceremony in conjunction with the 2017 ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.