‘Star Wars’ icon Billy Dee Williams shuns ‘victimhood,’ defends blackface: ‘If you’re an actor you should be able to do anything you want’

The use of blackface has long been decried as a racist act meant to demean and belittle black people, but the actor who played Lando Calrissian in “Star Wars” doesn’t see it that way.

Billy Dee Williams shocked many, including liberal host Bill Maher, when he stated the controversial opinion that actors should be able to get away with doing blackface. His reasoning? “If you’re an actor, you should do anything you want to do.” Williams, who is black, shared this opinion while talking about his friendship with Laurence Olivier, who once played “Othello” in the film adaption of the Shakespeare classic.

“When he did ‘Othello,’ I fell out laughing,” Williams chuckled. “He stuck his ass up and he walked around with his ass, you know, because Black people are supposed to have big asses.”

“Oh, I understand,” Maher replied.

“I fell out laughing,” the actor continued. “I thought it was hysterical! I loved it! I loved it! I love that kind of stuff.”

In the film, Olivier wore blackface to depict the character he played, which many now say is something that shouldn’t be allowed. Maher pointed out that show business “would never let you do that” in today’s industry, which prompted the actor into shock.

“Why?” he asked.

“Blackface?!?” Maher responded, somewhat shocked that such a seemingly obvious detail was missed.

“Why not?” Williams pressed. “If you’re an actor, you should do anything you want to do.”

“That’s a great point of view, but the theater would be bombed,” the host quipped.

In the interest of creating some context, Maher reminded Williams that there was a time in Hollywood when he wouldn’t have been able to get the parts he has had, but that did not deter the actor from his stance.

“The point is you don’t go through life feeling like, ‘I’m a victim.’ I mean, I refuse to go through life saying to the world, ‘I’m pissed off.’ I’m not gonna be pissed off 24 hours a day,” he said.

Watch the entire “Club Random Podcast” episode here:

Sierra Marlee

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