Why it will be Controversial to have a Black Bond

It is the 50th anniversary of James Bond movies and this is worth celebrating! Part of the celebration is the release of Skyfall starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris and others. Adele’s sound track to the movie has also been celebrated as one of the best Bonds songs since the days of Dame Shellie Bassey (Gold Finger, Diamonds are Forever and Moonraker). I am a Bond fan and this goes back to the 1980s when I used to watch Bond movies with my Dad back in Nigeria. You could say my Dad was a Bond fan as we had all the Bond movies, at least the ones by Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. So far, including Skyfall, there have been 23 Bond movies (excluding Never Say Never Again by Sean Connery which is not classified as an official Bond movie), and I have seen all of them. Do not worry this blog is not a review of Skyfall as I do not want to spoil it for fans who have not seen it!

There are currently speculations that the next Bond might be black. Lenny Henry also managed to drop the idea during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. If this is true this is exciting news as this will positively affirm that it is possible to be black and British, or an ethnic minority and British. Secondly, it will be encouraging for black young boys as well as ethnic minorities. But it will also be controversial because it will be viewed by some people as PC nonsense. Questions that will be fired are “why not a female Bond or an Indian Bond or a Gay Bond”? Idris Elba who may become the first black Bond has also said he struggles with the idea because Sean Connery was not considered as a Scottish Bond, nor Daniel Craig as a Blue eyed Bond, therefore he would not like to be known as a black James Bond.

Another reason why a black Bond will be controversial is whether people will see the actor for his merits as a talented star, or just reduced him and his personality to black? In essence, the idea could be perceived as tokenistic.

Thirdly, while a black Bond will in some senses address the inequality that we still see in the movie industry, I am not really sure it will bring a lasting significant change. The first black American president brings visible representation and participation, but also holds power that can effect real change. It will be the same if we have the first black Prime Minister or the first black Pope. In the case of a black Bond this will bring visible representation and participation, but I am not sure it holds any power to bring about change in societal structures.

Lastly, while on the one hand having a black Bond will be pioneering and well received in some quarters, on the other hand, it could reinforce the notion that black people or ethnic minorities are second class citizens. Past and recent history seems to suggest that white comes first and then black, such as white Disney princesses and then later having a black princess in The Princess and the Frog (and will we see another black Disney princesses in future, or is this a one off?). What will be next, a black Bourne? Why can’t we have a white Shaft after the pioneering efforts of Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson? Why does it always seem to follow the order of white first and then black?

If we eventually have a black Bond, I will probably be one of the first people to see it but will also be aware of the issues that it will raise.



About israelolofinjana

Rev Israel Oluwole Olofinjana is an ordained and accredited Baptist minister and has pastored Crofton Park Baptist Church (2007-2011) and Catford Community Church (2011-2013). He is currently the pastor of Woolwich Central Baptist Church, a multicultural church in south east London. He is Nigerian coming from a Pentecostal background. He holds a BA (Hons) in Religious Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and MTh from Carolina University of Theology (CUT). Israel is the editor of “Turning the Tables on Mission: Stories of Christians from the Global South in the UK” and author of “Reverse in Ministry and Missions: Africans in the Dark Continent of Europe” and “20 Pentecostal Pioneers in Nigeria” He has spoken in a number of conferences regarding reverse mission and Black Majority Churches (BMCs) and has also contributed to academic journals and Christian magazines on the subject of Black Majority Churches (BMC) in Britain. He is currently co-opted as a member of the Baptist Union Council. Israel is also one of the Directors of Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World an initiative design to train and equip pastors and missionaries from the South. He is a member of the Global Connections council. When he is not preaching or writing he is playing with Lego! He is happily married to Lucy who works as an administrator and research co-ordinator for the Evangelical Alliance. She is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), earning a BA in Social Anthropology and International Development. Lucy loves baking and watching movies!
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