Chris Rock opened up about his feelings on Jimmy Fallon wearing blackface to impersonate him on “Saturday Night Live” in 2000, saying in a recent interview that he doesn’t believe the late night host “intended” to hurt him.
In an interview with The New York Times, the comedian was asked about his thoughts in response to the 20-year-old clip of Fallon resurfacing earlier this year.
“Hey, man, I’m friends with Jimmy. Jimmy’s a great guy. And he didn’t mean anything. A lot of people want to say intention doesn’t matter, but it does. And I don’t think Jimmy Fallon intended to hurt me. And he didn’t,” Rock explained to the publication.
Fallon apologized for the sketch in a tweet in May, telling fans “there is no excuse for this” and thanking them for holding him “accountable.”
Rock went on to tell the Times that he thinks blackface as a whole “ain’t cool.”
“Blackface is bad. Who needs it? It’s so sad, we live in a world now where you have to say, I am so against cancer. ‘I just assumed you liked cancer.’ No, no, no, I am so against it. You have to state so many obvious things you’re against,” said the comedian.
Earlier in the interview, Rock addressed how he often talks about racism in his comedy and what “progress” he’s seen.
“It’s real. It’s not going away. I said this before, but Obama becoming the president, it’s progress for white people. It’s not progress for Black people. It’s the Jackie Robinson thing. It’s written like he broke a barrier, as if there weren’t Black people that could play before him. And that’s how white people have learned about racism. They think, when these people work hard enough, they’ll be like Jackie. And the real narrative should be that these people, the Black people, are being abused by a group of people that are mentally handicapped. And we’re trying to get them past their mental handicaps to see that all people are equal,” said Rock.
“Humanity isn’t progress — it’s only progress for the person that’s taking your humanity,” he added. “If a woman’s in an abusive relationship and her husband stops beating her, you wouldn’t say she’s made progress, right? But that’s what we do with Black people. We’re constantly told that we’re making progress. The relationship we’re in — the arranged marriage that we’re in — it’s that we’re getting beat less.”
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