Billy Dee Williams, Actor, Blackface, maher, podcast, victim, mentality, blackface

Not Billy Dee Williams Believing Actors Should Be Able To Do Blackface

Billy Dee Williams has no quarrels with actors performing in blackface because he refuses to take on a "victim" mentality.

Billy Dee Williams has no quarrels with actors performing in blackface because he refuses to take on a “victim” mentality.

The Star Wars star recently sat down with Bill Maher for a deep dive about his acting career on Maher’s Club Random podcast. With a resume spanning 50 years, Williams recalled some projects from yesteryear that inspired his Hollywood pursuit.

Among his favorites include the 1965 Stuart Burge-directed British Othello which starred Laurence Olivier as the title character in blackface. Williams shared his amusement with Olivier’s performance, which included changing his voice to sound deeper and more exotic as well as changing his style of walking.

“When he did Othello I fell out laughing. He stuck his a** out and walked around because Black people are supposed to have big a**es,” Williams told Maher.

“And Bradley Cooper thinks he’s got a problem with the nose,” Maher said, in reference to Cooper wearing a prosthetic nose to play Leonard Bernstein in 2023’s Maestro.

“I thought it was hysterical. I loved it. I love that kind of stuff,” Williams said of Olivier.

However, Maher reminded Williams about the change in time and how controversial it is for people to don blackface for a character or costume.

“Here’s the thing,” Maher said. “Today, they would never let you do that.”

“Why?” Williams asked.

“Blackface?” Maher replied.

But Williams shut down the controversy surrounding an actor’s use of blackface as he feels it should be accepted.

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

According to the Lady Sings the Blues star, getting offended by blackface is a form of victimhood, which Williams refuses to live by.

“The point is, you don’t go through life feeling like, ‘I’m a victim.’ I refuse to go through life saying to the world, ‘I’m pissed off.’ I’m not gonna be pissed off 24 hours a day,” he said.

He elaborated on this way of thinking earlier this year when he explained why he never looked at himself as the only Black character in a film.

“I never think of myself in terms of the only Black character,” he told The Guardian.

“Everybody else might think of it that way. In my reasoning in my own head, I’m just a character. A character has certain qualities that make a character a winning character in a movie or a character that is not able to translate very well. I’ve been able to translate very well across the board. . . I don’t really think in terms of Black. I couldn’t care less about all that garbage.”

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