Long before you bum-rushed the grassroots sub-culture of Hip-Hop, the portrayal of Boston’s #2 candy man “Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell” (HBO crime series: ‘The Wire’, 2002-2008) was already connected to your inner-hero; the one with whom you speak privately, honor willingly, and trust implicitly. A hero, framed by the parental influence of a ‘Sierra Leonean’ father, and ‘Ghanaian’ mother. A hero, who would ultimately encourage your decision to represent the aspect of Performing Arts known as acting.

During a string of leading and support roles (in a variety of genres), you’ve offered elite performances, to which audiences can reflect and feel a sense of pride; but, in total, you’ve shared significantly more than memorable scenes and dialog inflection. You have helped to inspire an infinite score of every-day folk, who respect what you’ve accomplished along your journey thus far. As a writer, my intrinsic passion for riding the swell of creativity beyond what naysayers believe is possible, requires me to acknowledge the residual influence of a fanciful Londoner (who understands his craft, owns his weaknesses, and carries out the business of keeping his life’s journey afoot), with an open letter of well-deserved gratitude.

Dapper looks and accolades aside, I pray you understand the far-reaching effects of your presence – within the private and often painful moments when your fellow man attempts to connect with his/her inner-hero. Yes, your on-screen offerings of cinematic dominance are masterful (to say the least); however, they are merely part-and-parcel to the hope you grant those who regard ‘Idris Elba’ – as a mentor, or hero of sorts. Opposite the celebrity shuffle to reach the pinnacle of your craft – exists the emergence of your off-screen essence, which says you are well valued for much more than stardom and wealth.

Sir, if I may be so forward to suggest—the same hero who champions the effort to extract character complexities, also works in tandem with your personal endowments to bring human portraiture to life. This hero I reference is one we cannot see (with the naked eye); however, makes an appearance in every performance, cast rehearsal, and table-read (from at-rise to curtain call). This hero has never been molded by gold-plated britannium, or polished into a ceremonial statuette—for notoriety’s sake. No. The hero within you, adopts the notion that we must each trust ‘the process’ in an affirmation of one’s own destiny … “I can, I will, if I believe!”

In an effort to spotlight the inner-hero you possess, I pray this letter is regarded as a note of appreciation, rather than flattery. It is my personal belief—that far beyond the hype of what it means to land the ultimate leading role, the strength of a man’s character to move the human narrative forward is clearly the most powerful role of all.

I bid you well-wishes for continued success (both publicly and personally). May you remain esteemed as a man of moral character, with a spirit that graciously yields to the hero within.

To Sir,

With Love

—T.J. Speaks