The 38-year-old award winning actor stated, “No, look, historically — this is truly my feeling; I felt this before the situation we’re talking about and I feel it now — generally speaking, we, as black people, have been celebrated more for when we are subservient, when we are not being leaders or kings or being at the center of our own narrative.”
He went on to explain that because of the critical and commercial success in 2013 of the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave and The Butler, in which he played a supporting role, that narrative is finally beginning to change, he contended, adding that it was only those films’ strong performances at the box office that led Paramount Pictures to back Selma.
He said “So this bears out what I’m saying,” the actor continued, “which is we’ve just got to come to the point whereby there isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy — a notion of who black people are — that feeds into what we are celebrated as, not just in the Academy, but in life generally. We have been slaves, we have been domestic servants, we have been criminals, we have been all of those things. But we have been leaders, we have been kings, we have been those who changed the world.”
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