Samuel L. Jackson: ‘MAGA’ means going back to white men having all the power

Samuel L. Jackson covers the latest issue of Vogue Man Arabia, a publication I truly didn’t know existed before this very moment. I’m glad it exists though, because Sam’s interview is really interesting and thought-provoking. Sam talks about everything from Black Panther to Die Hard to Martin Luther King Jr. to “making American great again.” You can and should read the full piece – go here. Some highlights:

He feels like ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ changed his career more than Pulp Fiction: “Actually, here’s the thing. Bruce Willis and I were doing Die Hard with a Vengeance when Pulp Fiction came out and we went to Cannes together to watch Pulp Fiction play for the first time. We both thought, ‘Wow, this is great!’ and Bruce said, ‘Yeah, this is good and this film will make you recognizable, but Die Hard’s going to make you a star. Die Hard will change your life.’ And it’s true. Die Hard with a Vengeance was the highest-grossing film in the world that year. That changed the agenda.”

Becoming famous in his 40s: “I was sober when it happened so that helped a lot. If it had happened sooner in my life, I would have found a way to mess it up. Being sober and understanding who I was, and what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to shape the trajectory of my career, was a result of me being more mature, but I always attribute it to my sobriety and not listening to everything people say when they tell you how great you are.”

White supremacy & MAGA: “I don’t see it as some kind of anomaly. People weren’t as open in the past when it was maybe politically incorrect to espouse some of the ideas that they can now say out loud. I never thought people stopped thinking it, but now it’s as vocal as it was when I grew up during segregation. If there was a way the country’s leaders could keep certain ethnicities from going to certain things or being in some positions then they would do that, because that seems to be the dynamic right now. I hear things like ‘make America great again’ and by ‘again,’ they mean going back to the day when a white man held all the power, women were home cooking and having babies, and the rest of the races were subservient in some way. There are a lot of things that can’t and won’t be changed because of the blood and the effort that was put in during the civil rights movement, but there are a lot of dynamics that are trying to be put back into place because of that.”

Whether Black Panther is a watershed moment for representation in Hollywood: “I’m not positive that Black Panther is going to change the dynamic of black stories being told in Hollywood and being accepted all over the world. It’s an action-adventure story and a lot of people like those, and they’ll work all over the world forever because everybody loves a hero. But not everybody loves a drama about somebody’s life experience – that’s why awards have a separate category for foreign films; they are perceived as being different. Once we stop perceiving them as different and just see them as good films and they get recognized in the same category, we’ll be laying markers.”

Django Unchained versus 12 Years a Slave: “Django Unchained was a harder and more detailed exploration of what the slavery experience was than 12 Years a Slave. But director Steve McQueen is an artist and since he’s respected for making supposedly art films, it’s held in higher esteem than Django. Because that was basically a blaxploitation movie.”

[From Vogue Man Arabia]

I find his reticence about Black Panther rather depressing, even though he’s probably right – Black Panther is a huge cultural moment and perhaps a cultural shift, but Sam’s just got to whisper, “But everybody likes a well-made action-adventure-superhero movie.” As for what he says about the MAGA Deplorables and racists… he is correct. That’s what Trump did for people, and for the larger discussions we have about race in America and beyond: what was merely thought and spoken of in dog whistles and subtextual code is now text/context. Everything is out in the open. People are just being openly racist and misogynistic and not even bothering with the dog whistles.

Samuel L. Jackson on the film set of 'Life Itself'

Photos courtesy of WENN, Instagram.

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17 Responses to “Samuel L. Jackson: ‘MAGA’ means going back to white men having all the power”

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  1. girl_ninja says:

    He’s right about bullshit MAGA.

    • Char says:

      He is on point about everything.

    • Mgsota says:

      He’s 💯 on that. I read a depressing article that said people didn’t vote for “he who should not be named” because of jobs (the narrative in the rust belt), they voted for him because they felt their white privledge was being threatened and he’s their grand dragon.

      • Elkie says:

        Look at the snarling, lily white audience at Trump’s last-but-one rally. You could just feel the “economic anxiety” coming off them in waves as they booed and jeered the word “Hispanics”….

        I would challenge any Trump voter who says that they weren’t drawn to him campaigning on a platform of racism and associated grotesque bigotries to name one – just ONE – time when he has been able to talk accurately, articulately and coherently about any area of public policy.

  2. Lady D says:

    I feel for him and everyone else who has to deal with this MAGAt government. Remember, this too shall pass.

  3. Rescue Cat says:

    ‘But not everybody loves a drama about somebody’s life experience – that’s why awards have a separate category for foreign films; they are perceived as being different. Once we stop perceiving them as different and just see them as good films and they get recognized in the same category, we’ll be laying markers.”

    Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been saying that for years.

  4. Patty says:

    He’s 100% correct. He also remembers what segregation was like. Something some of these young new age thinkers — Kanye — never had to experience and don’t understand. Older people who lived through some shit know what’s up and they also know that racism never stopped, it just went underground until the election of President Obama brought it all back above ground.

    He’s spot on with everything he said.

  5. Lightpurple says:

    Die Hard with a Vengeance was on HBO last night and he was having so much fun in it.

    I just love him. He has lived through and seen so much. His Instagram selfies are hilarious and so full of joy and wonder at the world and what he gets to see and do.

    And he currently holds the title of Box Office King, something he loves to point out to Harrison Ford.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      “Do I look Puerto Rican to you?”

      “He called you Jesus…”

      “He didn’t say ‘Jesus’, he said ‘Hey, ZEUS'”.

      that movie is so entertaining. Jeremy Irons is a great villain. but not quite as good as Alan Rickman, tho. “I am an exceptional thief!”

  6. Case says:

    SLJ is a smart man, indeed.

  7. Cayy says:

    I could stare at that magazine cover all day. I’ve looked at him for years and never seen him look so attractive. Wowza. Is it the scruff or the lack of glasses or the hat? Whatever it is, wow, wow, wow.

  8. Jess says:

    Love him and he’s right about all of this.

  9. paranormalgirl says:

    He’s definitely not wrong.

  10. MellyMel says:

    He’s 100% right about all of this!

  11. CityGirl says:

    I hate it but it is undeniable. He speaks 100% TRUTH.

  12. Betsy says:

    He’s correct.

    I am white and so do not have to deal with racism, but I am a woman and do have to deal with sexism (or would if I weren’t basically a hermit right now) and I can’t figure out in what proportion I am glad that it’s uncovered now – people’s plausible deniability is out the window and there’s a lot less space for gaslighting about how everything is perfect nowadays and we should all stop whining – and in what proportion I’m disappointed that this is still an enormous problem. That when I think of the founding of America how disgusting our two original sins are – that we codified slavery right in the Constitution and that genocide is the reason our country exists as it does – but I don’t consider women’s total and complete lack of rights at the time as anything odd.