David Harewood Clarifies His Statement On The Use of Blackface

In his latest statement, the “Homeland” actor denounced the practice because of its racist history.

David Harewood, a Black British actor, is backtracking on his statement about the use of blackface by Black actors.

In an interview with The Guardian, Harewood, the current president of the renowned British drama school the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, shared his thoughts on the taboo practice.

“We’re at this strange point in the profession where people go: ‘Oh, you can’t play that role because you’re not disabled, or you can’t play that because you’re not really from there,” Harewood said. “The name of the game is acting.”

“Yes, we’ve got to be representative, but I do think we have to be careful. That even extends to ‘Othello’ in blackface. I say, if you want to Black up, have at it, man. It’d better be f**king good, or else you’re gonna get laughed off the stage. But knock yourself out. Anybody should be able to do anything.”

According to a statement obtained by Variety, Harewood switched his tune and denounced the practice of blackface in all forms.

Billy Dee Williams Thinks Blackface Is Hilarious And More Actors Should Do It

 “I don’t support or condone blackface. My own documentary on the subject can be found on the BBC website,” his statement read. “It is a grotesque distortion of race and should always be condemned.”

Harewood is not the only Black actor to speak on the use of blackface. Legendary actor Billy Dee Williams also spoke on the practice while appearing on Bill Maher’s  podcast, “Club Random.” During the episode, Williams pointed to Laurence Olivier who in the 1965 film version of Shakespeare’s “Othello” played the title character, a Black Moor, in blackface.

“When [Olivier] did ‘Othello,’ I fell out laughing. He stuck his ass out and walked around with his ass because Black people are supposed to have big asses.”

In an attempt to clean up the “Star Wars” actor’s remarks,  Maher called blackface problematic, and Williams responded, “I thought it was hysterical. I loved it. I love that kind of stuff.” 

Maher pushed back against Williams’ comments noting that blackface isn’t allowed. 

“Why not? You should do it,” Williams argued. "If you’re an actor, you should do anything you want to do.”

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