Joe Morton Says Most Black Films Are Mainly About One Thing…

Joe Morton Says Most Black Films Are Mainly About One Thing...

Come to think of it I’ve never seen an interview before with
actor Joe Morton. I suppose there
have been a few in the 30 plus years he’s been acting, including his new role in ABC’s Scandal, but I’ve never
come across them.

So when this interview with Morton appeared on The
Huffington Post
, I was immediately interested and was even more so, in what he
had to say regarding black films – especially what he says he believes most of them seem
to be all about.

I have to admit that he has some pretty valid ideas. Well,
that is except when he says there aren’t a large number of black people in
Europe. Excuse me? Been to France, Spain, Italy or Germany lately, like in the last 50 years?

However, if you want to hear what he said for yourself, take a look. Do
you agree with him or not?

This Article is related to: Interviews and tagged ,



White Supremacy is the purpose of Hollywood. Joe Morton, I have a role for you.


Many black actors do not want get jobs or looked at as "black actors"; Actors. Also, many films with blacks actors, at one time, were not funded verses its counter parts. It took people that some of us may not want to notice pooling their monies together to bring about more movies with blacks in them. Once the funding came, Oprah, Bill Cosby, ect…, black writers and producers were ready and now we are getting the jobs and better films that many of us want to see are being produce. PBS ran a documentary on this issue back in the 90s.

alfonso burney

Pheomenal as an Actor……….. more PHENOMENAL as a Human Being – Love him and his work will continue to inspire – I think he interviews very well. Don't know why he won't do more.


100% agree. We are more than slave movies, sports and jokes.


No one cares what you think Joe. Your on a hit TV show. Just keep making kerry cry and let us figure out what the state of black films is. And that's the truth ruth!




Joe Morton Says and Black Folks go Whoa!

Here's the set up. In a recent interview at The Huffington Post, Joe Morton, who is presently in ABC's Scandal, voiced his opinion on the state of black films, white people and the powers that be. A few folks at Shadow and Act disagreed with his sentiments, while others agreed. One even suggested Mr. Morton shaded his words (watered them down) to stay in good standing with his bosses and the American audience at large.

Consequently, away from the glare of the camera and the scrutiny he may receive from speaking the whole truth and nothing but the truth, Joe admitted to hedging his bet, and thus, has agreed to an impromptu round table discussion with Marc LaMont Hill, S&A and it's audience.



Marc: Okay ladies and gentlemen… here we are – off that white man's couch and in my living room. Now, as you can see I am a black man so it's apropos to say, game recognize game so don't drop no BS if you're overly sensitive to no-holds-barred feedback. With that said, so the folks know who's talking sh*t and who's telling it like it t-i-is, who do we have in attendance?

Tambay Obenson: My name is Tambay Obenson, I'm the host and editor of Shadow and Act.

Marc: Tambay O., huh, can I call you Sammy? "Tambay" sounds so Un-American.

Tambay: Come on man, just because you work at The Huff Post don't mean I won't cut yo ass just like a you're a natural man black. So don't start no sh*t and there won't be none. Call me Tambay.

Marc: Okay Tambay, who's next?

Andre Seewood: My name is Andre, I am the author of SLAVE CINEMA: The Crisis of the African-American in Film.

Marc: HMMMM… so you know a little something about white folks and cinema – huh?

Andre: I sure do… you see, white folks don't…


Marc: Yeah Andre, hold up a minute, lets get through the pleasantries before you get into your book. Who's next?

Tanya Steele: My name is Tanya, I am awriter who frequently submits posts at S&A.

**Charles Judson, although not part of the round table, is sitting in the audience. He's heard whispering to a friend… "my God. I hope she stays focused. If she goes on one of her racial rants, I'm outta here"**

Marc: Who's next?

Sergio Mims: My name is Sergio **long pause**

Marc: …and Sergio… ah… is there something you'd like to tell us about yourself.

Sergio: What would you like to know?

Marc: Well, for starters, what brings you here tonight? I mean, I can assume you're a writer for the blog but what's you specialty?

Sergio: Okay, I'm glad you asked. See, some folks got me confused, misunderstood, all fked up… I don't know how many times I've told these knuckleheads that I am not a journalist, I'm a gossip hound who just happens to love movies. In fact, I wrote this post. Yep, I wrote this race-bait-gossip at it's finest, so I am here to follow it to the end.

Marc: My man, do yo thang, I ain't mad atchu, welcome. Are there any others

Tambay: We brought along a few of S&A's more vocal readers. They're in the audience. And, if I know that crowd, they will have something to say.

Marc: Good, so lets get started. Joe Morton has been gracing the wide screen for 30 years, most will know him from The Brother From Another Planet, now he's on ABC's hit show Scandal. Welcome Joe.

Joe Morton: Thanks for having me.

Marc; Joe, lets cut straight through the normal rhetoric. Were you surprised at the cult following?

Joe: Well, it hard to get a smart cult following but you got Shonda Rhimes who is the head of this one. She has figured out the key for what an audience is looking for.

Heckler from the audience: "…and what is that key, a white man using a black woman?"

**Joe pretends as if he didn't hear the question that's on the minds of many.**

Joe: More importantly, it's a show that stars a female and written by a female, but in no way shape or form is it about women's movement and what that implies, it's simply about power.

Another voice from the audience: "I'm calling bullsh*t, get to the real issue, everyone knows this is about a black woman in a lead role and how she's portrayed on the screen.

Marc: Excuse me, would that person like to stand and state your name.

Akimbo: My name is Akimbo. I've been taken to the wood shed for supporting and defending the white man/black woman relationship in this show, which is really it's drawing, so can we please discus that issue?

Marc: Well Joe, lets go there. How important is it for you as an actor to get those roles which are not race specific but still give you the opportunity to put a spot light on race, gender or what-have-you… and to represent the race so to speak.

Andre Seewood: Hold up Joe, before you wax poetic while kissing Shonda's azz and placating white folks, I think I need to jump in here. Look, a vast majority of White people don’t like Black movies because they lack the empathy necessary to identify with Black characters which in turn affects their ability to “suspend disbelief” and surrender to the narrative of a Black film. So if whatever you was about to say, did not speak to how the show has managed, to some degree, to keep a few white viewers engaged and entertained, I'm gonna call bullsh*t, but go ahead, keep talking.

Joe: Well, first, let me say I am with you Andre. Once a play or movie opens with racism or a black person in the lead or whatever, half the *cough*white*cough* audience is already half way out the door. They've known that story, they've seen that story or don't wanna see it. But if suddenly a character appears and they are an American of African decent and you don't get it until half-way through, the "oh I see, this is more about the "story" than their race" it's about who he is and how he got to that place, then we're talking about the real world.

**CareyCarey is in the audience. He leans over to his friends and whispers, "what the hell was that mumble jumble? The real world? You don't get it until half-way through? Get what, that the people on the screen are either black or white? What world is he talking about? Geez… the Brother from the other planet must be having a flashback"**


Marc: Hmmm… Joe, you may have confused a few people with that political correctness but lets move on. You wrote a piece for The Huffington Post which I thought was… well… lets take a look. The title is "When Will Black Historical Films Focus on Triumph Rather Than Plight? In short, you said these kind of films (you called out 12 Years A Slave) inflames an omnipresent and smoldering mistrust of whites by blacks. Would you like to say something about that?

Joe: Yeah, it's simple, these films are not going to open your eyes to anything new… it's not gonna make you feel "oh we should do something about that". It's just going to make you more angry. And lets be real, most of the films coming out of Hollywood in which a black person is a central character is ether about integration or whites saving the disenfranchised black person… "42"… " The Butler", "Help"… all these movies are about the same topics, as if we've only been the help or begging for integration.

Tanya Steele: PREACH… you bad mfer! It's time for blacks to stop taking care of white folks. How long will we continue to worry about how they feel? Sh*t, they make all these goddamn movies about leading us to the promise land, help us and teaching "us" how to be civilized, when there are millions of racist, poor, ignorant uncivilized whites who could use their help. Racism is a learned behavior and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. But, through films, they love presenting us as the "victim" and the downtrodden… and some negros are buying into that mess with open arms.

Joe: Show you right Tanya… and some of the arguments center on the words "black film". Those words tell a producer or a director, and more importantly the audience, it's for black folks only. So we need to get rid of the term "black film".

**A voice from the crowd**

Carl: Can I throw a few spit balls on the wall, I mean, give my opinion?


**Carl leaves abruptly to check back in at his alternative learning High School**

Andre Seewood: Wait a minute, who's fooling who? Call it what you want, when a black person appears in a major role, white people, first and foremost see their color. So it makes no different if it's a "black film" or just "a film", if the black character does not appease the their sensibilities, they will not spend their money or time on watching said film. In fact, if one cares to notice, Scandal's viewership is predominately black folks, so lets not be fooled or mislead to believe the "problem's" problem is the term "black film".

Marc: Hey Tambay, do you have anything to say about this?

Tambay: My name is Bennett and I ain't in it. In my interview of Steve McQueen, I gave a short opinion "12 Years A Slave", many of my own readers blasted my head off. So I'm playing the nut role on this one.

Marc: Sergio?

Sergio: Nope. Well, I just want everyone to know I am not a journalist? You want journalism read the New York Times.


Marc: Okay then, good-night folks. Keep watching Scandal but don't call it a black film. It's just a series featuring Americans of African decent (as Joe white-washed it).

**A voice hollers from the audience**

"I don't watch Scandal and I love me some black movies and black men. And for the record, my name is Scripttease!"



Jermaine Hall

That's what's so great about another "black show" on TV now, Sleepy Hollow, it's a show featuring a mostly black cast that has nothing to do with slavery, or inner-city poverty, or the segregated South, but at the same time manages to address race with characters that are fully fleshed, well-rounded human beings, not just cardboard symbols.

Ken Mask

Art is best delivered over a wide range of perceptions. He is correct that we need sustentative stories with popular, universal content.


He's right. And what he meant about "not a lot of Black people in Europe" is when a film is labeled "Black" or "Urban" and distributed overseas, there isn't a large enough demo to justify distributing the film for such a small, niche audience. He was illustrating the BS of that argument, both that and calling films "Black" and "Urban".


barack obama was born in hawaii. not "some people think he was born in Hawaii…"


They're both hot!!! Love intelligent men. #delish


I have to say that I actually agree with his point about there not being many black people in Europe. He didn't say there aren't ANY black people, just not many.

I don't think there's a single country in Europe where the percentage of black people goes into double digits. I live in the UK and, outside of London and a couple of other cities, it really isn't difficult to stick out like a sort thumb… and it only takes an hour's drive outside of London to start seeing and feeling this.

At best, we're probably looking at black people making up 5%, or likely less, of the population of Europe. Undoubtedly, most European countries wouldn't even be half of this. So, marketing wise, particularly with regard to Hollywood/studio films, if a film is perceived as being "black" then it's not exactly going to be one a buyer will be gagging for, is it? Films perceived as "black" will always be perceived as niche films as far as the "mainstream" is concerned and so, I'm guessing, are pretty much distributed and sold like independent films.

What's most interesting about this notion of black films not selling abroad (i.e. outside the US), is that it tends to focus on Europe. Apart from having a diversity of theme and story, it might also be worth considering marketing "black" films to the African continent where, contrary to popular misconception, there is a rapidly expanding middle class – of almost exclusively black people. …and yes, there are cinema chains, at least that I know of in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and mostly likely Kenya. Worse case scenario, you'd be marketing to the equivalent of at least the black population of Europe, possibly more – and growing.

William Spiritdancer

Absolutely! I've been saying the same thing for years. It's so freakin' frustrating seeing Hollywood's one dimensional stories of American Americans.


Joe Morton has mostly played genius or men of importance. Mr. Host forgot to mentioned the tv series Eureka… good series…


Joe Morton is THE MAN on tv right now. People flip out over him on twitter on Thursday nights.

There are definitely plenty of movies about "the struggle". It would be great to see more movies about "the triumph".

Lord, that Marc LaMont Hill is so fine……

ken barker

Mario van peebles asked where is our "jurrasic park, our batman"? I tend to agree. Less navel gazing and lets create films for wider consumption first. I hasten to add these should be lead by mainly black casts and HODs. All sub categories will find a place under there. Creatives join with the best of our financial brains and make things happen. Read the names of the execs on any Hollywood film. That might inform you and inspire us to follow that model. Right now we are rather nicely theorising a lot of B/S, being devicive and getting nothing done. I actually make films and want to reach audiences. Think on. KB


PERFECT! The Bother from Another Planet (Joe Morton) said what had to be said but it hurt soooo good… and the devil's in the details. I am reminded of Chitterlings ( Chitlins, Shitlins, Wrinkles or the small intestines of pigs), they have a foul odor but they taste soooooo good.

Listen, although Joe, being on a popular TV series (and only a fool would bite the hand that feeds him) tried his best to speak in politically correct terms. However, if one paid attention to the details of what he was NOT saying and/or was hesitant to say in fear of stepping on toes or risk being viewed as the angry black man, it's clear what he was saying about the state of black films, white people and the powers that be.

Now, since I don't have a dog in this fight, nor does anyone pay my bills, I am safe to give y'all the interpretation (my interpretation) of Joe Morton's thoughts if he was free of shackles to speak his mind.

Going back, some might view/perceive/take what I am about to say as they do chitlins (i.e., negro food, stinky, disgusting, etc,) nothing an honorable black person would ever consider puting on their plate. On the other hand, there are millions of blacks (and whites btw) who are wise enough to have an open mind. That said, it's time for another one of my skits that I hope will highlight the fine details of this issue.

The title: "Joe Morton Says and Black Folks go Whoa"

The cast: Joe Morton, Tambay Obenson, Sergio, Andre Seewood and Tanya Steele.

Supporting cast: Ski-Triumph, Carl, white folks, CareyCarey, Akimbo, Blackman, Scripttease.

Walk on and drive-by: Nadia, Peter, Other Song, No-Brainer

Btw, anyone who desires a part in the skit, please raise your hand. If you have a part but want out, raise your hand or forever hold your peace.


Darien Sills-Evans' "X-Patriots" was about a different perspective. Outside of this site, I've hardly read anything about it and it was killing on the festival circuit years ago.


HERE WE GO AGAIN! Another black actor going around having a problem with black films. What is he doing about it instead of talking/reflecting? Is he donating to black content creators who are trying to make nuanced films? Does he open his social media platforms to signal boost film crowd funding campaigns? Matter of fact, where's his film? Probably not even in sight.

Imma need him to walk AND talk at the same time.

And I would argue that The Help is not even a black movie. The screenplay was not written by a black person and it did not have a black director. Hell, The main character wasn't even black.

Adam Scott Thompson

To me, the biggest stereotypes that's been perpetuated by "our" films is that we're always trying to hook up and screw/date/marry/make babies; especially women, as if everything else they achieve in life is bullshit unless they have a do-right man.

Every other black film is either a romance, a comedy or a romantic comedy. Throw in the urban thrillers (think fallen white actor plus a tired rapper), filmed stage plays starring Clifton Powell/Vivica Fox/Kenny Lattimore (huh?) and morality tales a la "Temptation: Confessions of… [I forget the rest]" and you have our yearly output.


I liked the interview.. but no there are not a lot of black people in Europe. I live here in Germany, been in Europe for a long time.. sorry NO there just are not that many.

Solid E

I can only speak for myself. There is no such thing as a film that must be made or a story that must be told. This is nothing more than a Hollywood marketing tool. Also I totally disagree with the notion that black people need to be reminded of the horrors of slavery and the best way to do this is with a major motion picture. This is didacticism at its finest. When I spend my hard earned money on a movie I want to be entertained. I do not want to be preached to, enlightened, educated or given a code to decipher. Entertainment is all I want. Make me laugh, cry or scare the hell out me but please no didacticism. Black filmmakers seem to spend more time trying to justify their art than they do making it. One final rant is this, please black filmmakers stop telling your audience how they are suppose to react to your art. We seem to do this more than others.


Seriously– you can write four paragraphs about the fact that the interview has content, but not report any of the content itself. I suppose the mandate was to write a teaser and try to get people to click on one more HuffLive video, and so you had to leave all of the content in the video. And if I want some sort of enterprising work from HuffPo it only makes sense that the work would be done not in the field of actual journalism, but in advancing the styles and techniques of click-baiting.

Not interested in HuffPo Live. Didn't click on the video today, won't do so tomorrow, either. Do some actual reporting, or be clear that your link doesn't actually connect to content.


I agree with him. Please remember that blavks are only similar by shade of skintone in the workd. I think non-black critics snd others who think unilaterally forget that bkack people like other ethnicities are historical memories of the American past. The movie he speaks about was equally offensive to all the vuewers of that film. We need to see different images of blacks on film and television. And the truth of modern black stories, not just the civil rights movement, integration or the sanitized version of the horrific acts or films that don't blossom the versitility of bkack and even latino/asian and other ethnicities on the screen.

other song

I agree with what he's saying, but dude's acting like all we watch are slave movies. That couldn't be further from the truth. If anything, we're being drowned in sophomoric comedies and romance movies. I agree that we need to see a wider range of Black film period and I also think that we should embrace our suffering and let people know about it. Too many of us forget how brutal slavery was. And frankly, what's wrong with distrusting white folk? It's not like they've stopped f*cking us over. There are some great white folk out there no doubt, but white supremacy is real sh*t. It's not gonna disappear just because we wish it wasn't there. You have to actively fight it, and the only way is through education and knowledge of self.

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