Following yesterday's Quentin Tarantino interview—which had so many great pull quotes—Vulture dropped a Samuel L. Jackson feature today. Jackson, of course, stars in Tarantino's upcoming Christmas-release thriller The Hateful Eight and has been in five other Tarantino films. He's a Tarantino man, alright.
In the interview Jackson, who I just found out was an usher at MLK Jr.'s funeral, defends Tarantino's use of the N-word in his movies, which has seen backlash from other filmmakers, notably Spike Lee ("they had a public falling-out when Lee criticized Tarantino’s use of the N-word in Jackie Brown, and Jackson took Tarantino’s side"):
Jackson served as an usher at MLK Jr.'s funeral and was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. When anyone from Spike Lee to young black filmmakers criticizes Tarantino’s choice of words, Jackson says, "I tell them, 'He’s telling his story. If you’ve got a problem with that, then you need to write your story.' We’re talking about people living in a specific time who speak a specific way, who still do speak a specific way in parts of the country. I grew up in the South in segregation. I heard it every day. And people who didn’t say nigger said niggra, which was like, Why don't you just go ahead and say it? It sounds the same to me."
He talks about the unfair comparison to Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave, again in regards to the controversial use of the N-word:
He recalls how Django was rendered an “entertainment popcorn movie” as soon as 12 Years a Slave came out, even though he thinks Django was far more disturbing. "Unfair comparisons were made between the two films, and it was more about Quentin using the word nigger 102 times in the movie," says Jackson, "and it’s like, well, there’s one song in 12 Years a Slave where they say nigger like 300 times! But it's a song, so it's art?"
He also talks about the recent Confederate Flag takedown, and how it doesn't really matter because taking down fabric doesn't take down the hate, or, you know, license plates:
Though it was written in 2013, the movie’s exploration of how the Civil War didn’t end racism is unexpectedly relevant now. Jackson, for one, thinks that taking down the Confederate flag is an ineffectual gesture. "People still got it on their license plates. It's just part of the fabric of the South," he says. "I don’t mind knowing who the enemy is if they want to announce it."
Read the rest here (appearing in the Aug. 24 issue of New York Magazine).