Actor best known for his roles as drug kingpin Stringer Bell on HBO's The Wire and Detective John Luther on BBC's Luther. He earned critical acclaim for his role in the 2015 film Beasts of No Nation and he portrays the character Heimdall in the Marvel Universe.
He was employed as a DJ at various nightclubs under the pseudonym Big Driis.
He made his big screen debut in the 1999 French film Belle maman.
He married Kim Elba in 1998, but the couple separated in 2003. In 2014 he and his girlfriend, Naiyana Garth, welcomed a son in 2014. He and Garth split in 2016.
He and Wood Harris played longtime friends Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale in The Wire.