Idris Elba’s latest project covers untold stories of WWII veterans of color like his own grandfather

Stephen Nartey June 06, 2024
Photo Credit: Harald Krichel, Wikimedia Commons

Idris Elba has said that his latest project was inspired by his familial ties with World War II. According to him, his grandfather played a significant role in the war before moving from Kansas City to West Africa, as reported by ABC.

This informed the project for National Geographic titled “Erased: World War II’s Heroes of Color”, which Elba narrated and executive-produced. In an interview with ABC7 Los Angeles anchor Leslie Sykes, Elba shared his connection to the project and why it was important to shed light on overlooked heroes.

“The telling of World War II stories has been told in many, many versions, good documentaries, great films. But there is a component of most of these films that have been erased, eradicated, and not told fully which is the involvement of Black and Brown people from all over the globe that were significantly important to WWII,” said Elba.

“For me, it was really important to give an opportunity to picture this history from people that the families, some of the testimony from the soldiers that were there.”

He explained to People that the project touched his heart, particularly during the voiceover moments.

“I just would suppress them because this is not about me, but man, I was like, I dunno, that could be my granddad in the back there, you know?” he said. “I dunno. It was like he was six foot seven, so I was scanning for the tall guys.”

For his mom, who was 10 when her father died, her memories are “filled with melancholy.”

“There’s so much history about my grandfather that she doesn’t know because she only knew him for a short time,” Elba said.

Director Shianne Brown was the director of the episode about D-day.

“I think it’s such an iconic battle that was a seminal moment in the war and obviously we’re coming to the 80th anniversary,” said Brown. “What I learned is a lot of the Black soldiers weren’t believed after they came back and said they were fighting in the war. I think it’s important to shine the light on those Black and Brown stories which haven’t been explored.”

“I think what we’re going to see is really moving, incredible accounts of some of the most incredible battles we’ve known and seen, but we just haven’t seen it from this perspective,” said Elba.

“Erased: WW2’s Heroes of Color” premiered on June 3 on National Geographic and started streaming the next day on Hulu.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 6, 2024


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