Idris Elba Is Turn Up Charlie, But When It Comes to Slow Jams, He Also Knows How to Turn Down

It was circa 2007-2008, and “Fresh Out of Undergrad, Trying to Transition Out of Her Mama’s House” Tonja was at her first full-time desk job and tasked with the important decision of choosing her PC’s desktop wallpaper.


Her coworker had recently gifted her with the best loan a television fan could hope for: the complete series boxset to The Wire. Throughout the delightful binging process, she immediately fell in love with Idris Elba’s Stringer Bell (we all know the shallow reasoning here because Stringer was actually a pretty shitty person) and promptly chose her wallpaper: It was the cover pic for the character’s Wikipedia page. Tonja vowed to meet this snack one day and cast her dream into the universe.

Cut to several years later, and Elba is starring in his own Netflix comedy series, Turn Up Charlie. As such, Tonja is miraculously finally provided with the opportunity to meet him.

Tonja (figuratively) shits herself with joy.

Turn Up Charlie / Netflix (YouTube)

Per Netflix’s press release:

Turn Up Charlie centers on the titular Charlie (Idris Elba), a struggling DJ and eternal bachelor, who is given a final chance at success when he reluctantly becomes a ‘manny’ to his famous best friend’s problem-child daughter, Gabby (Frankie Hervey). Piper Perabo and JJ Feild co-star.

The popular streaming network teamed up with Airbnb’s Luxury Retreats to create a fitting setting for a show that takes place within a wealthy family’s home. The interview, which took place on said set, felt like we were sitting at home, chillin’ on a luxury (yet comfy) L-shaped couch.

Since Idris had ample research from his real-life DJ career (Big Driis in the house!), we at The Root decided to play a fun game called “That’s My DJ,” where we asked the star to give us a song for particular scenarios. Shout-out to Lil’ Wayne.


Our questions ranged from the best song to turn up to (naturally, he picked his own jam with Wiley, Sean Paul and Stefflon Don, “Boasty”) to the best song to put you in the mood (“It Never Rains In Southern California” by Tony! Toni! Tone!—which was funny, because it definitely rained in SoCal that entire week. He gave us the scoop on his DJ services at the royal wedding reception, where he played some Whitney Houston, and what he plans to bump at his own upcoming wedding, including songs by Bob Marley and Alton Ellis.

He also referenced Khia’s “My Neck, My Back.” Raise your hand if you were expecting that, at all.


Overall, it was a fabulous time and Idris is as charismatic as he is handsome. Whew.

Also, after wrapping up our lovely interview, I accidentally bumped my big ass hair/head into one of the studio lights on my way out. You know, just to prove to you how smooth and sexy I am around snacks like Idris.


Turn Up Charlie premieres on Netflix, March 15.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



LOL You alive over there Tonja?