Idris Elba has condemned the continuing knife crime epidemic in London.
The ‘Luther’ star backed the ‘No More Red’ campaign launched between his beloved Arsenal FC and Adidas while attending his side's home tie against Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
Sporting the initiative's flagship white jersey - which was worn by Arsenal instead of their usual red kit - while appearing on 'ITV Football', Idris told presenter Mark Pougatch and pundits Roy Keane and Ian Wright: "It's absolutely in response to the knife crime crisis that we've got going on.
"Last year, 30 kids — and I'm going to say 'kids' — died senselessly over knife crime. And the year before that, the year before that, it's an ongoing problem. Ian and I teamed up with Arsenal and Adidas to make a point and say something about it."
‘The Wire’ star works as a mentor for the scheme, which “aims to tackle the root causes of youth violence and provide safe spaces and opportunities for our young people", and believes it can send a powerful message.
Idris continued: "No More Red literally means 'no more bloodshed.' That's what we're going for, just to put it out there, no more bloodshed. We can do something, football is watched by teenagers, we all joined football as a teen, as kids, and it spoke to us. So, we're using the innovation of the partnership to say, 'Hey guys, how can we make a stand against knife crime?'"
The 49-year-old actor acknowledged it was never going to “stop gang culture” but wanted to find other outlets for kids after London - the UK’s capital - endured 10,130 incidents of knife crime in 2021, roughly 27 a day. According to the data, 2021 marked a 18 year record for young people dying by homicide. A quarter of the 122 victims were said to be teenagers - despite only making up eight per cent of the city’s population - and 27 out of the 30, died after being stabbed.
He said: "We're never going to stop gang culture, that's not the aim. But we want to give an alternative.”
The ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ star asserted that it was not meant to be subtle while pairing his white shirt with a ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ cap, another campaign he began two years ago.
Idris said: “It’s not subtle, it’s not meant to be. I want kids to think about their future.”