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I Want Black People to Stop Thinking Nepotism Is a Bad Thing’: Debate Erupts Online After Idris Elba’s Daughter, Isan Elba, Didn’t Get Her Desired Role for His New Film, ‘Beast’

Earlier this month British actor, Idris Elba, revealed his 20-year-old daughter, Isan Elba, was upset with him after she auditioned to play one of his fictional daughters in his upcoming film “Beast,” and didn’t receive her desired role. In an interview with “The Breakfast Club,” the movie’s producer, Will Packer, gave Idris credit for not insisting his child get the part.

“He [Idris] was very tough on her, he said, ‘Listen at the end of the day we’re going to make the best decision for the movie.’” 

I Want Black People to Stop Thinking Nepotism Is a Bad Thing': Debate Erupts Online After Idris Elba's Daughter, Isan Elba, Didn't Get Her Desired Role for His New Film, ?Beast?
British actor Idris Elba (L), his wife Sabrina Dhowre (C), and daughter Isan Elba (R) arrive for the Los Angeles premiere of Paramount Pictures’ “Sonic The Hedgehog 2” at the Regency Village theatre in Westwood, California, April 5, 2022. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Although Idris received credit for teaching his child to work hard for what she wanted — and the call not to cast Isan was Packer’s — the situation sparked a debate on Twitter revolving nepotism in the Black community. Nepotism is defined as, “the practice among those with power and influence of favoring relatives and friends, especially by giving them jobs.” 

While it has been embedded in people to believe that hard work will eventually lead to success, some individuals do not see an issue with parents using their “clout” or “connections” to help out their “nepo children.” 

Some of the “nepo babies” who have made their way onto the scene and can be described as stars who are a product of well-established show business parents are Zoe Kravitz, Tracee Ellis Ross, and John David Washington, who sparked a nepotism debate in Dec. 2020 among folks who claimed he was a bad actor. All of whom are making and or have made a name for themselves beyond their parent/parents assistance. Thus posing the question on Twitter: Why do some black people see a problem with nepotism?

“I want Black folks to stop thinking nepotism is a bad thing. It’s disproportionate because we lack the access. But, if a family member wants to be an actor and they’re good, why wouldn’t I use my connections to get them a gig? Not everyone needs to struggle before they make it.” “DEMASCUS” showrunner Kirk Moore tweeted. 

This tweet which now has over 55,000 retweets erupted a debate on nepotism and whether it’s helpful or harmful.

“I’m here for black nepotism. It’s the social making of black generational wealth..”

“I personally see nepotism as a convenient tool of survival in an unfair capitalistic world where ‘hard work’ isn’t actually enough for one to become successful and earn more money. The reason a few people have access to it is sadly also by design, so if you can use it, do it.” 

Journalist Jemele Hill stepped into the conversation, noting that Black people “practically invented the hook up” and in another tweet defended Idris’ decision by explaining the positive that came out of Isan’s audition experience. 

“The part people totally missed is that her [Isan] getting in that position to fail is a win. Most actors aren’t getting paid and certainly not in a position to audition for a big budget movie.” 

While Isan nor Idris have responded to the debate, many fans are still left wondering if nepotism really is a bad thing or a way to open up opportunities that would normally take years to obtain. 

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