Anthony Mackie was recently under fire when he talked race in America and natural hair. In an interview with the Grio he gave an in-depth opinion on men with dreadlocks that really set the Internet ablaze and made him a target of Black Twitter backlash. He said that dread locks are a trend that attract racial profiling in America.
“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. 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 locs 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.”
Now he’s speaking out on the subject again, but this time he’s defending his words, claiming theGrio’s interviewer Chris Witherspooon mislead the public with the editing of the interview. In a recent interview with Eurweb, Mackie says he didn’t realize his comments were going to be used in the story.
“I felt that we could sit and have a candid conversation about race and he wouldn’t take soundbites. He would let the entire conversation live. And he didn’t. And that’s what frustrates me…Mr. Witherspoon really pissed me off because I trusted him and he lied.”
Clarifying the root of his remarks, the actor promises that he only used locs to better paint the picture of police prejudice due to hairstyles.
“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.”
He continued to argue his point, also acknowledging that he too had dreads but it’s all about appearance in America—especially in this day in age.
“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.”
Outside of his most recent interview, Anthony Mackie has been silent on the issue, but TheGrio…not so much. The site played the unedited version of the interview and backed their writer (Mr. Witherspoon) up, assuring fans “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.”
Press play to watch both interviews and let us know if you’re feeling Anthony’s rebuttle.