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'Get Out', Samuel L. Jackson And Claims Of Racism

Updated on March 15, 2017

Daniel Kaluuya In 'Get Out'

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What Samuel L. Jackson Said - Why'd He Do It?

Jordan Peele, one half of the comedy duo Key & Peele, is no doubt quite excited that his directorial debut Get Out has become a huge hit and that he's made history as the first black director to have a $100 million debut.

Peele was initially reluctant to cast a British actor in the role of Chris Washington, but after talking with star Daniel Kaluuya, he realized that the experience with racism he was trying to depict was far more universal than he may have initially realized.

What he has probably not expected is the fire that superstar Samuel L. Jackson's words have generated in the wake of having seen Get Out. The film is ostensibly about a young African American man who goes to visit his Caucasian girlfriend's family's mysterious estate, and the suspense builds from there.

“I tend to wonder what would that movie have been with an American brother who really understands that in a way.” Jackson said. “What would a brother from America made of that role? Daniel grew up in a country where they've been interracial dating for a hundred years...I’m sure the director helped. Some things are universal, but everything ain’t.”

His comments caused significant outcry in Britain, with actor Daniel Kaluuya saying he was resentful of having to prove that he was black enough for African American roles. Kaluuya argued that there was a universality to the experience of being black that transcends continental borders.

"(Black people in the UK), the people who are the reason I'm even about to have a career, had to live in a time where they went looking for housing and signs would say, 'NO IRISH. NO DOGS. NO BLACKS,'" Kaluuya said. "That's reality. Police would round up all these black people, get them in the back of a van, and wrap them in blankets so their bruises wouldn't show when they beat them. That's the history that London has gone through. The Brixton riots, the Tottenham riots, the 2011 riots, because black people were being killed by police. That's what's happening in London. But it's not in the mainstream media. Those stories aren't out there like that. So people get an idea of what they might think the experience is."

Jackson tried to further explain his commentary, saying that he was not trying to criticize people who were British and black.

"It was not a slam against them, but it was just a comment about how Hollywood works in an interesting sort of way sometimes," Jackson said, according to The Associated Press.

Kaluuya noted that he was frequently the darkest person in the room and often made to feel like an outsider.

Guardian critique took aim at Jackson's comments, saying that he shouldn't have said what he did.

"When it comes to the roles they are assigned in Hollywood, African-American actors have every right to be aggrieved," Younge said. "Once depicted only as nannies, pimps, prostitutes, thieves, simpletons and savages, the possibilities have grown in recent times but the opportunities are nowhere near where they could or should be. But to aim that grievance at black British actors, as Samuel Jackson did earlier this week, is perverse in the extreme."

Jackson And Kaluuya

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Are There Bigger Conflicts?

It would seem that even celebrities believe there are better things to do than to attack each other. Star Wars: The Force Awakens star John Boyega has come out and implied that basically, there were better things to do than to attack each other.

"Black brits vs African American," Boyega said. "A stupid ass conflict we don't have time for."

While no other Hollywood heavyweights appear to have weighed in on the conflict between the two actors, the general outcry appears to be that Jackson should have known better than to comment on such an issue. There are some who have said they would prefer to see Americans playing Americans and British actors playing British actors, but for the most part, there are those who would say that Jackson, Boyega and Kaluuya should have more important things commanding their attention than who gets what movie role.

While Get Out continues to earn good figures at the box office, Jackson is hard at work promoting his new movie, Kong: Skull Island. It would also seem that Jackson continues to not be too shy about making comments. He has most recently spoken out against Ben Carson's claims that slaves coming over to America in the bottom of ships were merely immigrants. Who can blame him, though?

That might be something more worthy of attention than claims that imply racism is afoot.

News Reporting About the Jackson-Kaluuya Conflict

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