Morgan Freeman

“African-American” and “Black History Month” are Insulting Terms – Says Morgan Freeman

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In a rare interview, Morgan Freeman has expressed his distaste for both the premise of ‘Black History Month’ and the term ‘African-American.’

Speaking to The Times in London on the eve of his new film, A Good Person, Freeman said: 

“Black History Month is an insult. You’re going to relegate my history to a month?”

And he added: 

“Also ‘African-American’ is an insult. I don’t subscribe to that title. Black people have had different titles all the way back to then-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.”

Freeman told The Times that he had been inspired growing up by seeing Sidney Poitier on screen, only years later to talk to the veteran actor in person.

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Freeman revealed: “I spoke with Sidney way back. He said, ‘I wanted to be like you.’”

For Freeman, the man he would have liked to be is his friend Denzel Washington. “I am so very envious of Denzel’s career, because he’s doing what I wanted to do.” 

He added: “Generationally, though, I do think we’re moving ahead in leaps and bounds… LGBTQ, Asians, black, white, interracial marriages, interracial relationships. All represented. You see them all on screen now and that is a huge jump.”

It is a few years now from the glory days of Freeman’s career, including The Shawshank Redemption, Unforgiven, Glory, Invictus, Driving Miss Daisy, Seven and Million Dollar Baby, which brought him his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2004.

By contrast, the actor, now 85, played down the success of his career in recent years, reflecting: 

“I’ve done much in the last ten years that was much different. Driving Miss Daisy and Glory were different. Now? It’s just . . . me. The character will adapt itself to you rather than the other way round, so I do what piques my interest. Sometimes it’s just the money alone.”

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