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After Getting Attacked for Comments About Black Men and Dreadlocks, Anthony Mackie Claims His Quotes Were Distorted

Anthony Mackie arrested for DUI in New York CityIs popular actor Anthony Mackie in danger of losing a fleet of fans after comments he made suggesting that Black males should stop wearing dreadlocks to avoid running into conflicts with the police?

The condemnation of Mackie for his comments, made during an interview with The Grio, was widespread and severe across social media.

During the interview, when he was asked about racial profiling, Mackie talked about a conversation he had with his nephew.

“Like my nephew wanted to grow dreadlocks. I’m like fine, I’ll sit you down and I’ll watch The First 48 with you and everybody you see on that show, that’s doing something wrong, they’re black dudes with dreadlocks,” he said. “So, do you want to be seen as part of the problem or do you want to be an individual?”

“Let’s just say you have locks and you walking down the street. The police pull you over and say you fit the description of somebody. You start yelling and arguing with the cops. Next thing you know you pressed up against the wall going to jail for something you’re not even involved in just because you look like somebody and you don’t know how to handle yourself,” Mackie said.

But after the vicious reaction on social media from users mocking Mackie, he felt the need to clarify his comments—while taking a swipe at the Grio.

He claimed that the Grio Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon “lied” and misled him into believing that the portion of that interview was not on record.

In an interview with EUR Web, he said his comments about dreadlocks was an example illustrating the perception police officers have of those wearing the hairstyle, not a slam on anyone with dreadlocks.

“I said ‘My nephew came to me and he said I’ma grow dreadlocks…So speaking as someone who had dreadlocks, I sat my nephew down. I turned on ‘First 48’ because it’s one of my favorite shows. So there are all these young black men being arrested, being killed. The majority of them have dreadlocks. It’s a phenomenon now. Young men want dreadlocks because it’s cool.

“So I told him ‘You will be perceived as this. If you wear your pants hanging off your behind, if you wear your shoes a certain way, if you got tattoos all up your neck. I’m not saying that’s what you are, but you will be perceived as this. And with perception comes profiling,” Mackie explained.

He compared the tense relationship between law enforcement and Black men to being in “shark-infested waters.”

But Grio executive editor David Wilson had to come back at Mackie and defend Witherspoon. The Grio also released the full, unedited video of Mackie making the controversial comments.

In an editorial on The Grio, Wilson said of the claim that Witherspoon lied, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

“Witherspoon has interviewed Mackie on multiple occasions and has known the actor for two years. Witherspoon and theGrio have no interest in harming Mackie’s reputation. When he sat down with Mackie, it was not under the pretense of friendship but as a reporter and subject…Witherspoon’s journalistic integrity is beyond reproach. He has sat down with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Harry Belafonte, and Denzel Washington. He would not have access to such caliber of talent if he had a reputation for being duplicitous.

“We continue to be admirers of Anthony Mackie. However, we hope that he discontinues his attack on Chris Witherspoon’s character and offers an apology.”

Mackie had more to say about American race relations in his comments to EUR.

“No one’s listening….Everybody wanna hashtag, but nobody’s listening,” Mackie said.

“I don’t know how white people feel about what happened in New York or Ferguson because they haven’t been given an opportunity to speak. And that’s what’s so scary. I feel like we just all need to stop and listen,” Mackie added.

“You want to do a good protest? Set up four booths in Times Square with a sign over them that say ‘Talk to me’ and put two black people and two white people in each booth and talk. Talk.”

 

 

What people are saying

28 thoughts on “After Getting Attacked for Comments About Black Men and Dreadlocks, Anthony Mackie Claims His Quotes Were Distorted

  1. The larger society used to profile Black people with afros, saying that afro wearing dashiki clad Black people were subversive, dangerous. Dr. King wore a euro suit and had his hair cut short. Lot of good that did him. I wonder if the larger society decided that the only trustworthy and safe negro was one who wore a conk, would Mackey and others who think like him perm their hair? When will we have the right to self determination? I guess we have to get approval first.

  2. Marlene Stanford says:

    Bull feathers, brother Mackie! What was the excuse BEFORE dreadlocks and afro's? Don't make excuses for bad behavior. Your hair doesn't protect you. Your hair is just your hair. A racist is a racist is a racist (AND by the way, I don't "LIKE" dreads," but I don't think dreads indicate criminal activity). One of my sons wears dreads and has a Master's degree AND a job; 2 of my sons' hair is cut short; of those 2, 1 has a Ph.D. and each of them is gainfully employed. Their father's hair was in the "afro" style when afro's were "the style." Their father has a Ph.D and he was ALWAYS gainfully employed (and not as an entertainer) until he retired. He is now COMFORTABLY retired. Saying dreads indicate criminal activity is just another IGNORANT racist excuse for a racist to be a racist. How about saying that soft, fly away hair that builds up grease in a matter of hours indicates criminals? That won't fly, will it? Don't be STUPID.

  3. Jay Contreras says:

    I like him as an actor but it's clear he needs to stick to acting and leave activism and politics alone. Trayvon, Mike Brown and countless others didn't sport locs and they were still murdered. I don't think they were looking at Emmett Tills hairstyle when they killed him either. The correlation is non-existent and as for what whites as a collective 'think'..we already know. The millions they donated to the murdering Wilson & Zimmerman speak volumes. We talk 'at' them b/c they ain't listening. And frankly, I believe we are wasting our breath and time trying to get them to understand something that they don't have any vested interest in eradicating. This system benefits them as a whole, whether they acknowledge or not so the conversation that needs to be had is amongst ourselves. Hence..why this kind of site is always FLOODED with paid trolls trying to derail the conversation.

  4. Why do we have to change ourselves to please the white man ,I wouldn't change anything at all .it's not about our hair or our clothes, it's our skin.

  5. Erica Levene says:

    Black men certainly run their mouth, then start back tracking. It is quite entertaining watching and listening to their fuckery!

  6. I agree with your statement concerning why is media asking celebrities about historical events. We have Black historical societies and people thoroughly immersed in historical knowledge, evidence and current analysis. Why are we not consulting them for expert opinions instead of people who lives are so removed from the average Black experience. A lot of these folks haven't reached back further than the back seat of their car, lessmore consulted an elder, read some research or be anything other than oblivious to what's going on. Between Charles Barkley, Mackey, and some others I don't care to mention, we'd be better off asking Ned the Wino about his opinion of current events. We would probably get a more insightful answer.

  7. I don't even think its about our skin. It's some psychopathic BS these white supremest have going on. They are just projecting this crap on us. But it's something lacking within them.

  8. Rock Wolf says:

    This Is What happens when the man is paying you. He's trying to keep his job. Afraid to speak on being Black in America in fear of losing his job in film.

  9. Egie Asemota says:

    YOU KNOW, as a non-american and a male I can't speak thoroughly for women or black americans. I am just saddened that one minute we were all celebrating Anthony Mackie and now we are tearing him down because of a faux-pas. Here is the thing,
    1)I personally do not take this interview as a representation of his character. He has several interviews and is usually in a light-hearted and jovial mood. Therefore I can't take all his words at face value. Also, even if he feels that way about women, has the standard of feminism in this part of world gone so low that saying "I enjoy seeing a woman cook for me" is demeaning? Some women choose to do that and isn't feminism suppose to be about individual choices? Heck Kelly Cuoco got a lot of flak for the exact same thing. My own mother is an accomplished lawyer, entrepreneur and mother yet she cooks for us and taught me, my siblings and my uncles how to cook. Maybe he had a similarly upbringing and is just use to that. Does that really make him a misogynist?
    2)Racism exists and will continue to do so but is that any reason to say that Blacks do not need to do some self-searching and house-cleaning of their own? The truth is we blacks have to improve on ourselves. Complaining endlessly never solves anything. In Rwanda, after the genocide the entire population decided to move forward and better their country rather than complain about the world not caring. But apparently if someone says this to Black americans they call you a house nigger.
    3) Finally, celebrities are entertainers. Stop holding them to a higher standard than you should. They are still human and make mistakes. Your own life is yours and no one asks you to be a defacto role model for anyone. He is a celebrity and I see him as that only.
    I know this comment will most likely be ignored but I had to write these words. You all can go on with you fickle witch-hunt. I and others will be just admiring this fine actor and focus on his return as Falcon.

  10. Egie Asemota says:

    YOU KNOW, as a non-american and a male I can't speak thoroughly for women or black americans. I am just saddened that one minute we were all celebrating Anthony Mackie and now we are tearing him down because of a faux-pas. Here is the thing,
    1)I personally do not take this interview as a representation of his character. He has several interviews and is usually in a light-hearted and jovial mood. Therefore I can't take all his words at face value. Also, even if he feels that way about women, has the standard of feminism in this part of world gone so low that saying "I enjoy seeing a woman cook for me" is demeaning? Some women choose to do that and isn't feminism suppose to be about individual choices? Heck Kelly Cuoco got a lot of flak for the exact same thing. My own mother is an accomplished lawyer, entrepreneur and mother yet she cooks for us and taught me, my siblings and my uncles how to cook. Maybe he had a similarly upbringing and is just use to that. Does that really make him a misogynist?
    2)Racism exists and will continue to do so but is that any reason to say that Blacks do not need to do some self-searching and house-cleaning of their own? The truth is we blacks have to improve on ourselves. Complaining endlessly never solves anything. In Rwanda, after the genocide the entire population decided to move forward and better their country rather than complain about the world not caring. But apparently if someone says this to Black americans they call you a house nigger.
    3) Finally, celebrities are entertainers. Stop holding them to a higher standard than you should. They are still human and make mistakes. Your own life is yours and no one asks you to be a defacto role model for anyone. He is a celebrity and I see him as that only.
    I know this comment will most likely be ignored but I had to write these words. You all can go on with you fickle witch-hunt. I and others will be just admiring this fine actor and focus on his return as Falcon.

  11. Egie Asemota says:

    YOU KNOW, as a non-american and a male I can't speak thoroughly for women or black americans. I am just saddened that one minute we were all celebrating Anthony Mackie and now we are tearing him down because of a faux-pas. Here is the thing,
    1)I personally do not take this interview as a representation of his character. He has several interviews and is usually in a light-hearted and jovial mood. Therefore I can't take all his words at face value. Also, even if he feels that way about women, has the standard of feminism in this part of world gone so low that saying "I enjoy seeing a woman cook for me" is demeaning? Some women choose to do that and isn't feminism suppose to be about individual choices? Heck Kelly Cuoco got a lot of flak for the exact same thing. My own mother is an accomplished lawyer, entrepreneur and mother yet she cooks for us and taught me, my siblings and my uncles how to cook. Maybe he had a similarly upbringing and is just use to that. Does that really make him a misogynist?
    2)Racism exists and will continue to do so but is that any reason to say that Blacks do not need to do some self-searching and house-cleaning of their own? The truth is we blacks have to improve on ourselves. Complaining endlessly never solves anything. In Rwanda, after the genocide the entire population decided to move forward and better their country rather than complain about the world not caring. But apparently if someone says this to Black americans they call you a house nigger.
    3) Finally, celebrities are entertainers. Stop holding them to a higher standard than you should. They are still human and make mistakes. Your own life is yours and no one asks you to be a defacto role model for anyone. He is a celebrity and I see him as that only.
    I know this comment will most likely be ignored but I had to write these words. You all can go on with you fickle witch-hunt. I and others will be just admiring this fine actor and focus on his return as Falcon.

  12. Egie Asemota says:

    Tanycha Ellis YOU KNOW, as a non-american and a male I can't speak thoroughly for women or black americans. I am just saddened that one minute we were all celebrating Anthony Mackie and now we are tearing him down because of a faux-pas. Here is the thing,
    1)I personally do not take this interview as a representation of his character. He has several interviews and is usually in a light-hearted and jovial mood. Therefore I can't take all his words at face value. Also, even if he feels that way about women, has the standard of feminism in this part of world gone so low that saying "I enjoy seeing a woman cook for me" is demeaning? Some women choose to do that and isn't feminism suppose to be about individual choices? Heck Kelly Cuoco got a lot of flak for the exact same thing. My own mother is an accomplished lawyer, entrepreneur and mother yet she cooks for us and taught me, my siblings and my uncles how to cook. Maybe he had a similarly upbringing and is just use to that. Does that really make him a misogynist?
    2)Racism exists and will continue to do so but is that any reason to say that Blacks do not need to do some self-searching and house-cleaning of their own? The truth is we blacks have to improve on ourselves. Complaining endlessly never solves anything. In Rwanda, after the genocide the entire population decided to move forward and better their country rather than complain about the world not caring. But apparently if someone says this to Black americans they call you a house nigger.
    3) Finally, celebrities are entertainers. Stop holding them to a higher standard than you should. They are still human and make mistakes. Your own life is yours and no one asks you to be a defacto role model for anyone. He is a celebrity and I see him as that only.
    I know this comment will most likely be ignored but I had to write these words. You all can go on with you fickle witch-hunt. I and others will be just admiring this fine actor and focus on his return as Falcon.

  13. Egie Asemota says:

    YOU KNOW, as a non-american and a male I can't speak thoroughly for women or black americans. I am just saddened that one minute we were all celebrating Anthony Mackie and now we are tearing him down because of a faux-pas. Here is the thing,
    1)I personally do not take this interview as a representation of his character. He has several interviews and is usually in a light-hearted and jovial mood. Therefore I can't take all his words at face value. Also, even if he feels that way about women, has the standard of feminism in this part of world gone so low that saying "I enjoy seeing a woman cook for me" is demeaning? Some women choose to do that and isn't feminism suppose to be about individual choices? Heck Kelly Cuoco got a lot of flak for the exact same thing. My own mother is an accomplished lawyer, entrepreneur and mother yet she cooks for us and taught me, my siblings and my uncles how to cook. Maybe he had a similarly upbringing and is just use to that. Does that really make him a misogynist?
    2)Racism exists and will continue to do so but is that any reason to say that Blacks do not need to do some self-searching and house-cleaning of their own? The truth is we blacks have to improve on ourselves. Complaining endlessly never solves anything. In Rwanda, after the genocide the entire population decided to move forward and better their country rather than complain about the world not caring. But apparently if someone says this to Black americans they call you a house nigger.
    3) Finally, celebrities are entertainers. Stop holding them to a higher standard than you should. They are still human and make mistakes. Your own life is yours and no one asks you to be a defacto role model for anyone. He is a celebrity and I see him as that only.
    I know this comment will most likely be ignored but I had to write these words. You all can go on with you fickle witch-hunt. I and others will be just admiring this fine actor and focus on his return as Falcon.

  14. LaDaris Parker says:

    What the actor was speaking on is Police profiling. If you look a certain way, you will be perceived a certain way. Period. Early 20's, 30's if you wore very clean suits and looked a certain way, you were perceived to be a gangster. 70's if you wore all black, fro and had an African medallion you wear perceived to be part of the BPN. 90's if you wore trenchcoats you were perceived to be a bomber or psychopath. You all that are not in some form of law enforcement have to understand, these officers are trained to profile individuals based off LOOKS not skin color. Note: don't get me wrong they will profile skin color but not because of how they were trained but cause of their PERSONAL feelings and/or reactions.
    So if you LOOK a certain way then you will get profiled. So no one is saying hey don't look like this that is wrong but if and when confronted, don't get pissed off either. Handle the situation calmly, with some fucking sense, and you'll be fine. Even if that mofo comes at you like a dick or lil botch, show your credentials, answer a few questions, and be on your merry freaking way.

  15. Lazarus Parker is a perfect example of ignorance black people ourselves have and self hate. I have dreds past my waist. Why? Well my family is from the CARRIBEAN and it is a cultural thing. In the CARRIBEAN dreds before they became popular was sign of a Rastafarian. Talk to any woman down there and they will will tell you they would feel much more safe walking down a dark street with a bunch of us dreds standing around than this clean cut fool actor trying to suck up to white supremacy. This dredlock popular thing is a recent hair style craze. That's it…

  16. Billy Howard says:

    if he had a little bit more history about himsel he would be better off answering questions like that

  17. Billy Howard says:

    if he had a little bit more history about his ancestorhe would be a lot better equipped to answer questions like that

  18. Charlie Brewster says:

    White people haven't had a chance to talk?

    The only narrative we're bombarded with comes from their point of view. …

  19. Damian T. Council says:

    Your comment comes off as inclusive as if this is a shared perception of all "so called blk men and at the same time it entertains your premeditated contention.

  20. Brian K Dansby says:

    Awww hes just trying to revamp his career.

  21. James Jean says:

    Wow, if this isn't the biggest crock of shit I've ever heard come out of one Black man….but hopefully someone gets in his ear very soon and teaches him that respectability politics is very real and toxic.

  22. James Jean says:

    Damian T. Council This reeks of #NotAllMen rhetoric.

  23. Jacen Cage says:

    Why are people jumping up and down about this? Steve Harvey said the same damn thing and no one said a thing. Personally I think dreadlocks do have a high association with wrong Doing. Not all wrong doing that particular hair style is affiliated with law breakers. I wouldn't want my nephew with dreads ever

  24. Like I said before, Black people can't wear hoodies, can't wear fashion to their own liking, can't wear their hair in its natural state, can only express themselves in eurocentrically approved ways. The list of what we can not do in this "free society" grows longer with each year. So I ask, what is the profile for White criminals. I see some suspect looking White folks here in Georgia with tattoos all over their faces, some even with swastikas. Whites with locks, gauges in their ears, piercings, some nearly naked in the name of fashion.The naked ones could be prostitutes, yet I don't see them being pulled over, stopped or ticketed for indecent exposure. What are the limits for White folks? I guess the white criminal element is so diverse that no profile exists.. It's all lunacy, I say. And the fact that people are excusing bigoted and discriminatory practices demonstrates that many are dangerously brain washed. Just because racial and cultural profiling are facts and practices of American life, doesn't make them justified, nor confirm that they need to continue. Profiling people because of their color, culture, or personal style is not a practice condoned by a free and equal society and this nation needs to stop finding dumb a$$ excuses to continue the nonsense. It's time we grew up.

  25. Mackie statenent is very true in the hood and other circles. Profiling brother for having hoodies, saggin pants, locks, colors, talking to much slang, being aggressive has beem marker given to police and other agency as something to watch out for. If you look at most movies the display the bad guy with locks? Most of my homies had to cut there locks to work downtown? Mackie comment were based on real life experiences and everyday occurrences.

  26. Tanycha Ellis you've been killin em….I just wanted to commend you for your comments Tanycha. White supremacy is so blinding, the most of us, even with 2 sets of bi-focals on, can't see it. Ignorant excuses as we are still protecting master and blaming the victim…..hundreds of years later. It's crazy.

  27. The best comment I've read….thanks king man!

  28. Mony Riles says:

    I completely agree with what you said. I'm 35 years old and have never been harassed by the police..ever.. (not saying it couldn't happened,but it hasn't so far)

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