David Byrne calls blackface use in ‘Stop Making Sense’ promo a “major mistake in judgement”

"One hopes that folks have the grace and understanding to allow that someone like me, anyone really, can grow and change"

David Byrne has addressed his use of black and brownface in a promo skit for Talking Heads‘ 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense.

Taking to Twitter, Byrne revealed that a journalist had recently pointed out this particular part of the promo material to him, and proceeded to call the inclusion of the blackface and brownface a “major mistake in judgement”.

“In the piece I appear as a number of different characters interviewing myself, and some of the characters portrayed are people of colour,” Byrne wrote, adding that he had “just about forgotten about this skit and I’m grateful that it has been brought to my attention”.

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“To watch myself in the various characters, including black and brown face, I acknowledge it was a major mistake in judgement that showed a lack of real understanding,” he added. “It’s like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else- you’re not, or were not, the person you thought you were.”

Byrne added: “We have huge blind spots about ourselves- well, I certainly do. 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.”

Ending the thread of tweets by addressing his fans, he wrote: “One hopes that folks have the grace and understanding to allow that someone like me, anyone really, can grow and change, and that the past can be examined with honesty and accountability.”

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Earlier this year, as Black Lives Matter protests took place across the globe in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a number of TV shows, films and more were removed from streaming services due to their use of blackface.

Episodes of Peep Show, The Office, Community, 30 RockThe Mighty BooshLittle Britain and more have all been taken off of streaming services this year.

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