David Byrne Issues Apology for Wearing Blackface in 1984 ‘Stop Making Sense’ Promo Video

    David Byrne has apologized for wearing black and brown face in a 1984 promotional video for the Talking Heads’ 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense. In the clip, Byrne portrays a series of different characters interviewing himself, including some that are people of colour.

    Byrne, who rarely uses social media for personal use, took to Twitter to address the video. “I’d just about forgotten about this skit and I’m grateful that it has been brought to my attention,” he wrote. “To watch myself in the various characters, including Black- and brownface, I acknowledge it was a major mistake in judgement that showed a lack of real understanding. It’s like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else—you’re not, or were not, the person you thought you were.”

    “We have huge blind spots about ourselves – well, I certainly do,” he added. “I’d like to think I am beyond making mistakes like this, but clearly at the time I was not. Like I say at the end of our Broadway show American Utopia ‘I need to change too’..and I believe I have changed since then.”

    Read David Byrne’s tweets below, and scroll down to watch the clip in question.

    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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