Ncuti Gatwa Says 'White Mediocrity' Is 'Celebrated' Over Black Success: 'If I'm Not Exceptional, I Won't Be Loved'

"Black people, we have to be absolutely flawless to get half of [that]," Gatwa proclaimed in a new interview

<p>Steve Granitz/FilmMagic)</p> Ncuti Gatwa in Beverly Hills on March 10, 2024

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic)

Ncuti Gatwa in Beverly Hills on March 10, 2024

Ncuti Gatwa's journey to self-love has involved the actor coming to terms with accepting himself, while also being aware of racial biases around him.

"There’s so much white mediocrity that gets celebrated," Gatwa, 31, said in an interview with Attitude. "And Black people, we have to be absolutely flawless to get half of [that] anyway. So, I’m slowly training myself out of that and being like, ‘No s---. You deserve love just for existing.’ And that has taught me to be a lot more loving as well, in a weird way.”

The Barbie star suggested, “We’re trained to be like, ‘If I’m not exceptional, I won’t be loved.’ Certainly, I think that was my thing."

"So, yeah, I think I’m just learning now like, ‘Oh, you are allowed to be loved,’" he continued. "You don’t have to be excellent or aspire to that term, ‘Black excellence.’ What the hell?”

<p>Ian West/PA Images via Getty</p> Ncuti Gatwa in Londonon Dec. 11, 2023

Ian West/PA Images via Getty

Ncuti Gatwa in Londonon Dec. 11, 2023

Related: All the Actors Who've Played Doctor Who

On criticisms regarding his casting as the titular Doctor on Doctor Who, Gatwa — who is the first Black man to take on the famous role — told the publication that he doesn't understand how some could be “so angry over something so inconsequential."

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“We do see a shift happening in casting, in positions of power and in the status quo,” Gatwa recognized of racial dynamics changing in Hollywood. “I mean, not a fast shift, things could tip over the other way a little bit quicker, but you see people kind of malfunctioning because things are changing.”

Gatwa's casting in Doctor Who's leading role was announced in 2022, with the actor saying at the time that he is "beyond excited" about taking on the role.

Related: Doctor Who Channels Bridgerton in New Time-Traveling Season — Watch the Trailer! (Exclusive)

"This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care," the Sex Education actor continued, adding, "I will endeavour my utmost to do the same."

After some critics questioned Gatwa's casting, he told The Hollywood Reporter in July 2023 that “the British press can be very mean."

The actor also noted that his goal is to "focus on the job and stay true to what the Doctor is: a mad scientist alien who has adventures and cares about everyone.”

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