Morgan Freeman: Black History Month is an insult, African-American is an insult04/19/2023
Back in 2009-2010, there was a particularly disturbing story in the tabloids about Morgan Freeman. By “story,” I mean “tabloid reporting, including interviews, for several years.” The story was that Morgan Freeman was having some kind of affair with his step-granddaughter, and the affair destroyed his marriage and for a while, many believed that he would end up marrying the young woman. That story completely disappeared after several years. Then, during the height of Me Too, CNN reported on Freeman’s years of inappropriate behavior around female costars and colleagues. All of which to say, there’s a reason why we haven’t written about him in years. Well, Freeman has a role in Zach Braff’s new film, A Good Person. To promote the film, Freeman gave an interview and he talked about how much he hates “Black History Month” and the term “African-American.”
On Black History Month and the term “African American.” “Two things I can say publicly that I do not like. Black History Month is an insult. You’re going to relegate my history to a month? Also, ‘African American’ is an insult. I don’t subscribe to that title. Black people have had different titles all the way back to the n-word and I do not know how these things get such a grip, but everyone uses ‘African American’. What does it really mean? Most Black people in this part of the world are mongrels. And you say Africa as if it’s a country when it’s a continent, like Europe.”
On Denzel Washington’s quote “I’m very proud to be Black, but Black is not all I am.”: Freeman added: “Yes, exactly. I’m in total agreement. You can’t define me that way.”
He can’t be a chameleon anymore: “When my career started in film I wanted to be a chameleon. I remember De Niro early on doing very different parts. Almost unrecognizable as the same actor. I had opportunities like that. But as you mature in this business, eventually you become a star. Then you’re pretty screwed in terms of referring to yourself as a character actor. You play a lot of the same type of role — people hire you and say, ‘It’s you that I want.’ And you live with it. I don’t think I’ve done much in the last 10 years that was much different. ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ and ‘Glory’ were different. Now? It’s just…me. The character will adapt itself to you rather than the other way round, so I do what piques my interest. Sometimes it’s just the money alone.”
Regardless of all of the scandalous sh-t which has largely been buried, I think it’s fine that an 85-year-old actor is simply like “yeah, I play the same character constantly, what do you want, the money is good.” It’s the voice, really – his voice is so iconic, he got to the point where he couldn’t play those smaller character roles. As for “African-American” – it’s part of a larger conversation about how Black folks want to identify or not identify. It’s none of my business!
I also think every month should be Black History Month, or rather, Black history should be ingrained in all history education. But that’s what got Republican-led legislatures and Republican governors banning Toni Morrison for being “too woke.” Republicans are literally running for office on a platform of “don’t teach children Black history.” And they’re winning.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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