Q&A: Morgan Freeman on New Film and Race in Hollywood

Ronke Idowu Reeves, BET, April 4, 2011

The veteran actor has tough talk for Blacks crying foul in Tinseltown.

{snip} The 73-year-old Batman Begins star once again lends his authorative, smooth narrative voice to the big screen for the IMAX documentary Born to Be Wild 3D. The film highlights the lifelong work of two women who run animal orphanages in Southeast Asia and Kenya.

{snip}

What’s your take on what’s been dubbed as the Black men blackout, i.e. the lack of African-American actors on stage, at this year’s Oscars?

I think we need to get over that s–t. How many Chinese do you see? You don’t see them out marching and s–t. Oh God please. I think. . . . We need to get over it, that’s all.

Have you ever felt pressure to represent your people in a certain way in any of your films?

I don’t have any “my people.” I never had to deal with that part of my thing. Once, I straightened my hair when I was doing The Electric Company, and this woman comes up to me and says, “You . . . you . . . shouldn’t!” And I said, “Hold it. You don’t dictate my image. Get away from me.” And another one said, “But you’re a black man!” And I said, “Oh? Do tell!” After I played the president in Deep Impact, somebody said to me, “How does it feel to play a Black president?” And I was like, “Whoa, whoa. I didn’t play a ‘Black’ president. I played the president.” I don’t have to play Black.

{snip}

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  • Kingoldby

    Smart, successful, risen on his own merits. Self respect.

    And is opposed to racial grievance mongering.

    Spot the connection?

  • Dave

    At least he’s a good salseman for himself. As much as I enjoyed his acting in “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Wanted” I was turned off by his part in “Invictus!” Perhaps we have a new classification – “A Politically correct Black!”

  • Tom in Illinois

    I wonder how race relations would be if Morgan Freeman was in office. I’d like to see what he would have to say about mlk, jesse or al (still not capitalising their names)

    I loved the day he admitted that black history month is simply “ridiculous”, i believe is what he called it.

  • Question Diversity

    3 Tom in Illinois:

    I doubt any better. A black is a black is a black is a black is a black, when you get right down to it. Blacks would still be arrogant and conceited in the “we’z takin’ over cracka'” department if it were President Morgan Freeman or Allen West or Herman Cain or even a Vice-President Ezola Foster just as they are with President Barack Obama.

  • Anonymous

    Note his age, it’s 73. That means he grew up in the 1940’s, when America was a sane country. Also his photo indicates that he is not of pure African ancestry. This may explain the anomalous rationality of Freeman’s comments.

  • olewhitelady

    Eric Holder should take a lesson.

    Freeman is indeed sensible if he doesn’t want to present himself in Hollywood as “a black actor”. With the proliferation of PC scripts and casting these days, blacks are often no more than a token in films meant to draw black audiences or satisfy the urges of leftist loons to propagandize. Hopefully, if silly reporters keep getting curt answers like those given by Freeman, they’ll avoid such pandering questions.

  • white is right, black is whack

    #4:

    Unfortunately, that is right. Even life-long ‘black republicans’ voted for Obama. Even Michael Steele was accusing whites of being racist, even though they voted him as the head of their party. I think even lots of these ‘black conservatives’ are just spouting what whites want to hear to butter their bread. They know most whites are afraid of being called racists, so they say and do things we’d get called racist for. Very few of these ‘black conservatives’–with the exception of Pastor Manning and Jesse Lee Peterson–ever encourage whites to say what they want without fear of being called racists.

  • Anonymous

    Wait, people:

    Why does this man deserve anything but quiet and dignified praise for his candor?

    He speaks here as a MAN, as an INDIVIDUAL, as a HUMAN BEING, superior to all constraints, all stereotypes, all demands of tribes, hordes, hangers or judges. A MAN.

    If this is the real Morgan Freeman, I’d be happy to share his company.

    So refreshing. Sounds like he’s tired of being told all his life that he has to be this and that, that he’s good or bad based on the color of his skin.

    Isn’t that what white men have faced for 45 years?

    I ought to know, I was born in 1964, about the very year this judgement descended upon white men.

    I’ve known a few black men through my live who were like mirror images of me and my values, which at times state” I am who I am…keep you’r distance, if you seek to judge me or tell me what to do. I am not your ally just because you think you read me. I have my allegiances, and my loyalties, but I am an individual. I will decide my own course.”

    (These are the sentiments of a cynical and thoughtful person…a sometimes unfortunate and unhappy position, but, probably realistic. It is a heavy burden at times, for white OR black. We both see our own “people” selling us out or shaming our legacy. Sounds like Mr. Freeman may be such an open-eyed man.

    If THAT is what this man is saying,

    My hat is off to him.

  • Anonymous

    My only beef with Freeman is that he recently married his step-granddaughter.

    Then again, when she was a baby he changed her diapers so now she can return the favor by changing his Depends.

  • Greg

    To 3:

    You are right, race relations wouldn’t improve, although for adifferent reason. Have you seen the abuse conservative blacks take from other blacks? Look at Clarence Thomas, the most conservative justice on the Supreme Court. Blacks call him “Uncle Tom” at best, and if an Allen West were to win the presidency and begin cutting welfare benefits, the outrage would be even more prodigious. The fact is, blacks hate conservative blacks more than they hate conservative whites because they see conservative blacks as traitors to the larger cause of a united, powerful, Afro-centric world. Because of this, I do think race relations would get worse. Once moderate whites saw the abuse a conservative black president caught from other blacks I think their eyes would open toward how race is truly perceived in the US.

  • Jefferson

    If most Blacks were like Morgan Freeman, Herman Cain, Allen West, and Thomas Sowell, I would have a lot more respect for the Black race. But unfortunately most Blacks are like Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton.

    Also if most Blacks were like Herman Cain, Allen West, Thomas Sowell and Morgan Freeman, the crime rate in the Black community would be a lot lower.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always liked Morgan Freeman, as he is one of my favorite actors. I’ve now seen another side of him that I can appreciate and respect as well. This isn’t some sniveling punk kid that has had the world handed to him over the past few decades and yet demands even more inequality in his favor. This is a 73 year old man that has seen phases of our history that weren’t fair to Black Americans. It’s nice to see him put these whiners in their place. It’s not like a prominent White man has the courage to do it. Even the so-called Conservative ones.

  • Anonymous

    It makes me sick that there are some conservatives out there and some posters on this board as well that want to shove diversity in our faces by pointing a finger at Freeman and say he’s one of the “good ones”. I’ve heard this spiel before over Bill Cosby and Colin Powell and look how that turned out. Sorry, not buying it.

  • Luke

    I used to think Morgan Freeman was a half-way decent black actor, and the same thing applied to Danny Glover – until I read comments from both of them that revealed their typical, chip-on-their-shoulder, blame-whitey, militant black attitude. Granted, this outburst by Freeman seems appealing to whites who are also sick of black whining, but it could be due to Freeman’s desire to grab all the movie roles for himself.

    So, being a big fan of Clint Eastwood’s movie – Unforgiven, whenever I give it another viewing, I no longer grieve when the Morgan Freeman character gets rubbed out by Gene Hackman, the resident bad guy. And, whenever I give the original Lonesome Dove mini-series another viewing, I find myself admiring the spear throwing accuracy of the Indian warrior who impaled ‘Deets’, the character played by Danny Glover.

    Hey, nice throw, I always think to myself.

  • Chris G.

    Boy, alot of AmRen readers are pure haters. I am a black man and love this site, as I am a race realist. However, to say there are no brilliant, non-PC and professional blacks is very intellectually dishonest. It’s unfortunate that, for reasons both genetic and environmental, alot of “my people” simply can’t be civilized and have rational discussions. But there are some outliers, like me (who subscribe to the AmRen newsletter). I am also a Software Engineer to boot, and have tutored up to the math level of Differential Equations. Not all are brain dead hand-out seeking sheep.

  • Cousin Charlie from TN

    Way back–10-15 years ago–I cut out a newspaper clipping from this guy expressing disdain for the term “african american”. I had it on the wall in my apartment. Probably from the Daily News or the Post in NYC. He thinks of himself as a black American, not a displaced African. Subtle but interesting & maybe important difference.

    Freeman works in Hollywood, so he’s a PC leftist as they all are. Yet he’s got some sense. Zero point to bashing him. He’s probably to the “right” of 99% of the whites in his field.

  • Shawn (the female)

    I agree more with commenter #5. I think it’s more age related than anything. I know a number of elderly black people, and many, many more of them think rationally than irrationally. They may still have a black mentality, but not at the expense of those who they have to live among. There is an elderly black man living down the street from me who our family has known all their lives, and I trust him far more than my white neighbors. I promise you that you could trust him with anything you have, including a million dollars if you had it. He would show you every dime of it and make sure it was all accounted for before he left you. His kids and grandkids, however, are another story.

    Most of the older blacks I know are, though poor, self sufficient and value honesty and respect. They are not of the “I’m special and deserve respect” attitude that is being preached today. They feel, as I do, that you EARN respect, and a person is no better than their word.

    That attitude has been warped and twisted into today’s egocentric, entitled belief system. Black, white, it almost doesn’t matter with today’s society – many of them are a blight.

  • Anonymous

    13 — Anonymous wrote at 5:53 AM on April 7:

    It makes me sick that there are some conservatives out there and some posters on this board as well that want to shove diversity in our faces by pointing a finger at Freeman and say he’s one of the “good ones”. I’ve heard this spiel before over Bill Cosby and Colin Powell and look how that turned out. Sorry, not buying it.

    —————————————————————–

    Right On!!!!

    Too many Whites (even here on amren) here some “nice” words from some black and they get all mushy inside and believe every word!

    Black history is American history.

    Morgan Freeman

    Dr. Martin Luther King is not a black hero. He is an American hero.

    Morgan Freeman

    I don’t know what my favorite film of mine is… But I think the most important film I was in was ‘Glory’.

    Morgan Freeman

    Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as our prince of peace, of civil rights. We owe him something major that will keep his memory alive.

    Morgan Freeman

    Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/morgan_freeman.html#ixzz1Iqj95OZw

    Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/morgan_freeman.html#ixzz1Iqiud3SR

  • Ben

    I actually applaud Mr. Freeman. Well done.

    At least one is trying to be consistent with the whole color blind thing.

    I always thought the man had a good head on his shoulders.

  • Tom in Illinois

    To question diversity and Greg, yes you indeed may be right.

    Obama is pure proof of the popular saying “Once is enough”. But if there were anyone who could be good father figures to blacks and actually have a possible legitimate shot at teaching some of them any moral and respectful values, I’d pick Morgan or Bill Cosby.

    But if it were future presidents like mlk, al or jesse…God help us all we’re doomed!

    But for conservative purposes even when I said I wondered what it would be like in office if Freeman took over, things still wouldn’t be put in place like it should. I’d say he indeed would have a beter image than Obama, but I say this…White is only right!

  • Anonymous

    15 — Chris G. at 10:03 AM on April 7:

    Forgive me for being skeptical but 90 percent or more of this “we’re all the same” propaganda is just that, it’s fabricated for mass consumption and is no more real than a Hollywood movie. You may or may not be a software engineer or if you are there’s the possibility you aren’t very competent in your job and you’re a quota hire to keep the civil rights commission off your employer’s back. You may be a professional blogger with an agenda. If so, brush up on your grammar. Maybe your a leftist or a neocon Lloyd Marcus loving counterfeit Tea Partier. The possibilities are endless. As someone who is an actual real person let me give you my opinion. I have nothing against blacks personally but it’s obvious we can’t coexist in the same living space. Americans have made a lot of sacrifices to accommodate blacks and it’s resulted in the precipitous decline of this once great nation. It’s time it ended and we part company.

  • Greg

    To Tom:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d vote for Allen West in a heartbeat. But not because it will make race relations “better.” I don’t believe blacks and whites will ever get along as well as utopians think they will, at least not here on Earth. Even if everyone in the US liked the president, we would still have jealousy and malice because of differences in class, religion, status, intelligence, and most importantly…race.

  • Anonymous

    I could care less if the Oscars was an all black event. I love watching movies but unfortunately most of what has come out in the last fifteen years is pure garbage and we don’t even go to the theatre anymore. We now stick to watching old movies and TV shows on DVD. I’ve noticed that watching something that’s 30 years old actually makes me feel good and there’s usually nothing bizarre in it. I’ve wondered why something so old has better picture clarity and more brilliant color in it than something contemporary. They’re obviously using a dark lense to make everyone look the same. Another thing is older programs and even commercials used to have White people that looked pleasant to the eyes. They were quality physical specimens who wore nice clothes. Nowadays they look sickly, the hair is unsightly or it looks like they just woke up and they don’t even bother to cover pimples with makeup anymore. I don’t know if people notice but the majority of Whites on TV have jet black hair. It’s all done on purpose of course.

  • Anonymous

    22 — Greg wrote at 10:13 PM on April 7:

    To Tom:

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d vote for Allen West in a heartbeat.

    —————————————————————-

    Your post doesn’t make any sense. WHY would you vote for a black man and then say:

    “Even if everyone in the US liked the president, we would still have jealousy and malice because of differences in class, religion, status, intelligence, and most importantly…race.”

    you say, most importantly RACE…then say you would vote for Allen West, a black man? Again, WHY? Be consistent.

  • Michigan Patriot

    Without the genius of White men; Morgan would be able to do : movies, driving Miss Daisy or anyone else for than matter nor all the creature comforts of a modern industrialized society. I wonder if Morgan is aware of his White man’s bestowed blessings upon him or any other black , unappreciative, anti-White, bigoted racist ?