Tracy Morgan says he is not shuckin' and jivn'

Tracy Morgan says he is not shuckin' and jivn'

During Tracy Morgan's speech at the Golden Globes this year some popular African-American web sites labeled him as a "modern day coon," a criticism that has been thrown at several Black comedians over the years.

Published July 20, 2009

Tracy Morgan During Tracy Morgan 's speech at the Golden Globes this year some popular African-American web sites labeled him as a "modern day coon," a criticism that has been thrown at several Black comedians over the years. In my interview with Morgan, which is out today, the Brooklyn native tackled the criticism.

I don’t care about that. They saying the same sh*t about Obama -- Black people act like they ain't never satisfied! First they say you can make it when you little, "You can make it! You can be anything!" When you make it and be anything you got to criticize. These are the same people that told me when I was little I can make it and become anything. Now that I'm doing what love to do -- they got something to say! But, they won’t say nothing about the dude that's selling crack in front of the schoolyard! That's why I don't listen to nobody! I don’t listen to none of the crap, man; I just keep on doing me. Where's these people that's criticizing me now when my mother was raising five of us in the projects by herself -- where were they then? Now that Black people make it, it's Black people that turn on your first! It's Black people that want to criticize you the most. But you were the one that told me I could make it when I was a little!? You rather me be in jail? You can't win for losing! You want to criticize, criticize them people that's child abusing, that's not taking care of their kids and not taking care of their families. When Obama won we were the first ones to criticize him! He's just trying to fix things; I'm just trying to heal. But being at the Golden Globes -- I mean, Tyler Perry, he perfect? [Laughs] He's perfect. What he's doing is perfect? You know what I'm saying?

I'm not making a comment about Tyler Perry. [Laughs]
I don't care! He don't pay my bills! I don’t got nothing against the man. If you gonna criticize, criticize everything, everybody. I don’t care if I’m at the barber shop I’m funny. I don’t care if I’m at the Golden Globes I’m funny. They said the same thing about Martin Lawrence. They said the same thing about Eddie Murphy. They had something to say about Michael Jackson when he was alive. "Look at his skin color, look what he did." Then when he died, everybody wants to memorialize him. I just try not to get into that man.


Later in the interview Morgan added:

Do you see yourself transitioning to dramatic roles?
We have that dramatic side but people think doing comedy is a step down from doing drama -- when comedy is actually a privilege. It's harder now to make people laugh because then they say you shucking and jiving and all of that. That's because they don't want to laugh. We need comedy. What they saying about me they said about Richard Pryor. Richard just wanted to touch people with his sense of humor, that's something God gave all of us. If we don't laugh we gonna cry. I can’t control who’s in the audience -- I can’t control who laughs. I can’t do that. I don’t have the luxury of picking my fans. I can’t pick my audience. I just do what I do. God gave me a gift to make people laugh. Now that I’m doing it, just not only Black people laugh, those are the ones that's saying that I’m doing this and that. I’m not, I’m just doing what I been doing. When there's no more laughter in the world, that's when the world is going to end. When there's more laughter in the world, there's no more love to give and that's when it's Armageddon. I know I got a lot of love for everybody. I’m loving those who love me back. Like Mary J. Blige told me, "be good to those who are good to you." What you see is what you get -- if you think I’m “bamboozled.” Hey, I’m sorry you feel that way.


Do you think Black folks are too critical of each other?
Sometimes I think we can be. Sometimes I think we just need to be a little more supportive. Instead of Al Sharpton going after Lil' Wayne -- why don't he show him the way? Why don’t you just show him the way instead of criticizing him? You the adult, you the elder. Most of us, because of that generation, we grew up without fathers and stuff like that because of the choices they made.


I must say, it's a tough road for Black comedians.  Jim Carey , Steve Martin and Tom Green have never been called minstrel shows when their slapstick comedy is just as  over the top as Tracy Morgan or vintage Eddie Murphy .  A minstrel show is someone who turns on or plays up certain beliefs in Black culture for a good laugh.  I've always believed Tracy Morgan was simply being himself in the way of many comedians before him.

Do you think Morgan is being unfairly criticized?

Click here for the full interview .  Tracy Morgan's G-Force is in theaters Friday.

Written by Clay Cane

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