Idris Elba has urged young people in London to act to tackle social ills like knife crime and racism.
In a speech given during the WE Day event held at the SSE Arena in Wembley on Wednesday, the star used his own rise from humble beginnings to illustrate to youngsters how they can make a difference and change their lives in society.
Knife crime has been on the rise over the past few years in Britain’s capital, and according to Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper, Idris cited it as something young people could help stamp out.
He encouraged the crowd: “You are all capable of making an impact so speak out about what matters – whether that is fighting against knife crime, global hunger, housing, education, sexism, combating racism.
“We all need to be conscious about the world we live in because it is our responsibility to make things better together.”
Speaking about his own upbringing in Hackney, Idris said he remained positive despite not growing up in the best surroundings.
“Happy is my normal. Yes, there was crime. Yes, there was poverty. Yes, there were gangs,” the 47-year-old explained. “Some of the people I grew up with, people I saw around the neighbourhood, went down the wrong path, ended up doing the wrong thing.
“I was different. I was lucky, maybe. I wanted different things. I was an only child by immigrant parents from Sierra Leone, west Africa. And they worked hard for what they had. This way of life taught me the importance of independence and relying on myself for my own success.”
Others present at the WE Day event celebrating youth activism included Lewis Hamilton, Adwoa Aboah, Leona Lewis, Jamie Oliver, Gwendoline Christie, and Alfie Allen.