During an interview with television reporter Jake Hamilton of Houston’s Fox affiliate, Jackson said he wouldn’t answer any questions about his use of the N-word in the new Quentin Tarantino vehicle, “Django Unchained,” unless Hamilton said the N-word.
“There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the usage of the N-word in this movie,” Hamilton said to Jackson.
“No. Nobody. None,” Jackson interrupted, clearly relishing the moment. “The word would be?…”
Jackson then gave Hamilton and ultimatum.
“We’re not going to have this conversation unless you say it,” Jackson told Hamilton.
“I don’t want to say it,” Hamilton responded.
Jackson even asked Hamilton if he’d ever said it.
“No,” Hamilton said.
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“Try it!” Jackson implored him, enjoying himself a little too much.
Hamilton then asked Jackson if he would say the word.
“No, f— no,” Jackson said.
Hamilton finally gave up, but added that it was a great question. To which Jackson responded, “it wasn’t a great question if you can’t say the word.”
While critics have questioned the frequency of the use of the word in the film, Tarantino and the film’s other African-American stars, Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington, have defended it, saying it was appropriate to the time. Spike Lee said he’s boycotting the movie because it’s an insult to his ancestors.
“American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them,” Lee tweeted.
But the film has mostly gotten rave reviews, from film critics and from African-American film-goers alike. Jackson has been singled out for praise for his portrayal of the monstrous house slave who wields his power like a brutal hammer over the other slaves on the plantation owned by Leonardo DiCaprio’s character. Many have wondered whether a supporting actor Academy Award nomination might be in Jackson’s future for forever recasting the image of the house slave.