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Courtney B. Vance attends The Broad Museum celebration for the opening of Soul Of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 Art Exhibition at The Broad on March 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (March 21, 2019 – Source: Rich Polk/Getty Images North America)

*Actor and SAG-AFTRA Foundation President Courtney B. Vance was a guest on SiriusXM’s “The Joe Madison Show” to discuss the impact of the coronavirus crisis on Hollywood, the need for real change following George Floyd’s death and the defining moments of his life.

During the interview, the actor shared a “defining moment” he remembers when he was a kid and a soldier threatened him with a bayonet during the Detroit, Michigan riots in the 1960s: “We grew up in Detroit in ’68, with the riots in ’67, and we lived on West Grand Boulevard, and the tanks came right down our street. And I was into G.I. Joe, and I went down, we were sitting on our, our house looked right down onto, and we had a long front lawn that went down to the Boulevard, and I saw a G.I. Joe and I took off before my parents could get me. Because I was going to get G.I. Joe! And the soldier turned his bayonet on me. And I was in shock by the time my mother and father were on me, and they pulled me back. A defining moment.”

Courtney B. Vance also discusses the murder of George Floyd and how there needs to be no more excuses for white violence: ” That was a hunters move…. That’s a deer, and they sit on the deer’s neck until the fight goes out, and the deer just suffocates and dies after he’s been shot so he doesn’t buck around and stab you with his antlers. It was a hunters move. Do you understand that?..That’s a man there. That’s somebody’s father, that’s somebody’s uncle, that’s somebody’s brother, that’s somebody’s son. That’s a man. That’s every man that just went under. Because that’s what they said. This is a power move. This is about power. It’s about power, and it’s not about technology, what we need to film more. The camera was on him. He knew the camera was on, and he did it anyway..If that was a white man that was suffocated like that..This image is in my mind: the police off to the side of the road, beating a black woman. She was under, he was on top of her, and just wailing on her…And when they’re like that, we just go, ‘oh well, that’s a black woman, she must’ve been doing something, and he’s just doing his job, he feared for his life.’ Stop it. Stop the feared for his life excuse. Stop that. That’s enough of that. That’s what people are saying.”

Audio clips with transcripts are below, along with the full interview. If used, please credit SiriusXM’s “The Joe Madison Show” (weekdays from 6-9am ET on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel 126).

Host, Joe Madison: Let me pretend I’m one of your children and I say to you “Hey dad, what was your moment when you were our age, or when you were in college,” how would you answer that?

Courtney B. Vance: What was my defining moment?

Host, Joe Madison: Yeah. As you just described what you said to your children, and let’s say they flip that and said, “okay, what was your defining moment?”

Courtney B. Vance:  I would say the first one, there was a series of them. The first one was when I first was able to vote, which is the Carter/Reagan 1980. And I had heard so much about being able to vote. We grew up in Detroit in ’68, with the riots in ’67, and we lived on West Grand Boulevard, and the tanks came right down our street. And I was into G.I. Joe and I went down, we were sitting on our house which looked right on down, and we had a long front lawn that went down to the Boulevard, and I saw G.I. Joe, and I took off before my parents could get me. Because I was going to get G.I. Joe! And the soldier turned his bayonet on me. And I was in shock by the time my mother and father were on me, and they pulled me back. Defining moment.

The Carter election, the defining moment where I was actually able to vote, and it was a huge, huge thing in my life that I was 20, and now I could, I’m a part of the system, I can do my part. And then, because you’re not going to get through this life without challenge. And my father dying at 30 and dealing with that, but probably the first one was when I was eight and my parents asked me where I was going to go to school. And I was going to go to the Catholic school that I was in, and my parents made the decision to take the scholarship. It was not a full scholarship, but it still was going to impact our family very strongly, and send me to a private school, Detroit Country Day and shift my life.

Courtney B. Vance: No More Excuses for White Violence

Courtney B. Vance: So the question is, what are we going to do now as the show’s title infers where do we go from here? You know now, that it doesn’t work. You’ve known that COVID-19 is impacting the folks of color because of health issues, diabetes and blood pressure, what are you going to do so that they get the same care as the white folks, as Asian folks? People are people. You see that man sitting on them was chilling on his back, chilling for eight minutes, 46 seconds, chilling. That’s not right. That’s what one of the ladies said last night. That was a hunters move. That’s a deer, and they sit on the deer’s neck until the fight goes out, and the deer just suffocates and dies after he’s been shot so he doesn’t buck around and stab you with his antlers. It was a hunters move. Do you understand that? That was a hunters move. That’s a man there. That’s somebody’s father, that’s somebody’s uncle, that’s somebody’s brother, that’s somebody’s son. That’s a man. That’s every man that just went under. Because that’s what they said. This is a power move. This is about power. It’s about power, and it’s not about technology, what we need to film more. The camera was on him. He knew the camera was on, and he did it anyway.

Host, Joe Madison: And quit tasking us to explain it.

Courtney B. Vance: Stop it now, stop it.

Host, Joe Madison: Quit asking us to explain it. And that’s why I wonder, I’m hoping we don’t bounce back like a rubber band, and we’ll see what happens because that’s why I asked the question about…

Courtney B. Vance: If that was a white man that was suffocated like that. If that was someone on a white man or on a police..this image is in my mind. The police off the side of the road beating a black woman. She was under, he was on top of her and just wailing on her for whatever happened. I don’t know how or what the situation was, but he couldn’t get the situation under control, and he ended up on top of her, beating her. Those images are not reversed. They’re not reversed and when they’re like that, we just go, “Oh, well, that’s a black woman. She must’ve been doing something and he’s just doing his job. He feared for his life.” Stop it. Stop the feared for his life excuse, stop that. That’s enough of that. That’s what people are saying. That’s enough of that. Well, then he just hung himself because we didn’t have the cameras. We got the cameras now, so you can see he didn’t hang himself. You hung him. So, stop that; close off that exit. That’s a human being. Stop that.

Full Interview: Actor Courtney B. Vance Joins the Joe Madison Show


 

 



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