Morgan Freeman said he finds Black History Month and the term “African American” insulting.
In a recent interview, Freeman, 85, told the Sunday Times that he doesn’t like how the culture is only assigned four weeks in February.
“Two things I can say publicly that I do not like,” the actor said. “Black History Month is an insult. You’re going to relegate my history to a month?”
Freeman went on to reveal that he also finds the term “African American” insulting.
“Also, ‘African American’ is an insult,” Freeman said. “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.”
When prompted by the interviewer, Freeman added that he’s in “total agreement” with what Denzel Washington once said: “I’m very proud to be Black, but Black is not all I am.”
Freeman’s remarks echo ones recently made by Idris Elba, who made headlines after revealing that he no longer refers to himself as a “Black actor” because it puts him in a box.
In the Sunday Times interview, Freeman also discussed how he can no longer act as a “chameleon” or “character actor” at this point in his career.
“When my career started in film I wanted to be a chameleon,” Freeman said. “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.”
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