Angelina Jolie: ‘Listen to those who are being oppressed & never assume to know’

European Premiere of "Maleficent – Mistress Of Evil"

Angelina Jolie has an interesting interview in the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK. Honestly, it should have been the cover! Her son Knox Jolie-Pitt photographed Angelina for the magazine, and you can see those sweet photos here. She spoke with Bazaar about the pandemic, refugees and racism. She’s been in lockdown in LA for months, and as we’ve already seen, she’s been using this time to write and use the media to draw attention to the issues she cares about. Some highlights from her interview:

Whether the lockdown changed her perspective on what matters: “I was fortunate years ago to travel with the UN to frontlines around the world and put into perspective what really matters. Having six children, I am reminded daily of what matters. But after almost two decades of international work, this pandemic and this moment in America has made me rethink the needs and suffering within my own country. I am focusing both globally and domestically; they are of course linked. There are over 70 million people who’ve had to flee their homes worldwide because of war and persecution – and there is racism and discrimination in America. A system that protects me but might not protect my daughter – or any other child, woman or man in our country based on skin colour – is intolerable. We need to progress beyond sympathy and good intentions to laws and policies that actually address structural racism and impunity. Ending abuses in policing is just the start. It goes far beyond that, to all aspects of society, from our education system to our politics.

Advice for talking about racism: “To listen to those who are being oppressed and never assume to know.”

The most faith-restoring things she’s witnessed: “The way people are rising. Saying that they are tired with the excuses and half-measures, and showing solidarity with each other in the face of inadequate responses by those in power. It feels like the world is waking up, and people are forcing a deeper reckoning within their societies. It is time to make changes in our laws and our institutions – listening to those who’ve been most affected and whose voices have been excluded.

The most horrifying impacts of lockdown, other than the plight of refugees: “The other horror is domestic violence. The reality before lockdown was that the most dangerous place for a woman to be was in her home. During lockdown, the abuse and level of violence has risen. Above all my concern is for the children. The number of children we know at this very moment are being abused keeps me up at night. There is a global health crisis for children from abuse, neglect and the effects of that trauma. And not nearly enough done to protect them….We still turn a blind eye to domestic violence. We often don’t believe survivors, we don’t put the rights of children first or take their trauma seriously. Our child protection services are not adequately resourced and funded. They lack proper training. So do judges. In America, there isn’t even a nationwide register of child abuse deaths or an agreed definition of death caused by maltreatment, meaning we can’t even track the scale of the problem effectively. It is my belief that not only those who commit the abuse but those who cover and dismiss it, must be held accountable. Everyone says that they are against domestic violence, but it is these kinds of very specific things we need to change – and the protection of children should be at the heart of it.

What she’s been reading & watching in isolation: “I am in listening mode most hours of the day. I follow TIME magazine, the New York Times, the BBC World Service and BLM activists online. Most recently, I’ve watched the documentary I Am Not Your Negro, about James Baldwin and the Civil Rights movement in America. Before bed, I’ve been reading Unreasonable Behavior by Don McCullin and reflecting on how journalism has changed in the last half a century.

The kids adopted disabled bunnies: “Like most parents, I focus on staying calm so my children don’t feel anxiety from me on top of all they are worrying about. I put all my energy into them. During the lockdown, Vivienne lost a bunny during a surgery, and we adopted two sweet little ones who are disabled. They need to be in pairs. They are so gentle and it has helped to focus on their care with her at this time. And on the dogs, and snake and lizard…

[From Harper’s Bazaar UK]

While this is not the biggest headline from this interview, I friggin’ love that Angelina’s kids are obsessed with animals and that Vivienne has disabled bunnies and they all live in a Hollywood mansion with bunnies, lizards, snakes and dogs. The Jolie-Pitt kids are amazing. As for the rest of it… I love her but my God she’s a Debbie Downer. I get it though – she talked about not being able to sleep because she was thinking about all of the abused kids who don’t have a safe place and I felt that. She also talked about how she’s doing a kids’ book in association with Amnesty International about how kids across the world can stand up for their rights.

Photocall of the movie "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" at the terrace of the Hotel de Ville

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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28 Responses to “Angelina Jolie: ‘Listen to those who are being oppressed & never assume to know’”

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  1. Sierra says:

    I simple love this woman because of her compassion and intelligence.

    I love that she mentioned she learned about the struggles people suffered 2 decades ago but that she has now realised that America is also struggling.

    She is one of the few white people who speaks about racism without sounding like white privilege or condescending. She truly seems to care and I especially love this sentence “A system that protects me but might not protect my daughter – or any other man, woman or child in our country based on skin colour – is intolerable.“

    • Ronaldinhio says:

      She feels like much more than an actress director now. Her humanitarian roles now define her and she is by no means lightweight
      I could see her move to head a large NGO or into politics if she felt she could achieve more in that way. I love the life she lives and the growth she has shown

    • Bread and Circuses says:

      She’s really stepped into Audrey Hepburn’s shoes — known for being a pretty actress, but a towering humanitarian in substance.

  2. Tiffany says:

    There is no way, nor should there be a, light hearted way to speak of the abuse refugees, children and BIPOC receive.

    You call it Debbie Downer, I call it sad that this is happening to people around the world.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:


    • Jules says:

      So much this: There is no way, nor should there be a, light hearted way to speak of the abuse refugees, children and BIPOC receive.

    • jade says:

      yes, what is so debbie downer about it? she is talking about what is happening today. she is one amazing woman. she is tireless in highlighting the causes close to her heart.

  3. tempest prognosticator says:

    I love her. She is a special human.

  4. Mohbard says:

    I love this woman she’s great! Angie you are an inspiration to so many. Keeping walking the walk and talking the talk

  5. Valiantly Varnished says:

    She’s not a Debbie Downer. She’s saying the things people need to hear but turn away from because it makes them uncomfortable. Im sorry but there isnt a whole lot be happy-smiley about right now. This is what this pandemic has done and has revealed: that people spend a lot of energy IGNORING the things that make them uncomfortable or sad. And now they are forced to actually have to reckon with it. Good. This interview highlights why I love Angelina. She didnt spend an entire interview talking about her workout routine. She spent talking about things that actually matter.

    • Lily says:

      So true. She made it known that she wasn’t interested in those questions, and I think she is respected by journalists because she doesn’t get that many of that type of questions. She is credible for things that are above the regular workout routine, what do you eat and such. I’m gonna throw a little shade here, but we would not expect the same questions going to Jen Aniston, although i’m sure she’s also a lovely person.

  6. Astrid says:

    The picture from the magazine with her and the 6 kids is wonderful.

  7. lily says:

    I was skeptical at first but she is doing a great job with her kids. And she is so right about listening to those who are being oppressed & never assume to know….clever woman

  8. Mel says:

    Love everything she so eloquently said. I’m glad she’s bringing attention to other issues during the pandemic as well and I understand what she said, I remember when I watched the Netflix documentary about the trials of Gabriel Fernandez and I couldn’t sleep for days thinking about how many kids were going through that (and I’m not even a mother) I can only imagine for her as a mom of different races kids, who has also seen and heard some horror stories from her time working with the U.N how it must feel.

  9. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    If you would’ve told me 20 years ago that I would think Angelina is one of the very few who seem to get it, I would’ve laughed. She says exactly what we should be hearing.

    “…listen to those…being oppressed…never assume to know.”

    How hard is that? How hard is that to understand? How hard is that to DO?

    • Mei says:

      ‘How hard is that? How hard is that to understand? How hard is that to DO?’

      +1000000000 Right???

  10. Nanny says:

    I love this woman, her intelligence is underrated.
    I guess every person on social media Is a Debbie downer then as we have passed the point of vapid topics and finally hitting in on topics that impacts our lives collective.

  11. Mei says:

    If the world is full of people like this then it means they have their eyes open to all the awful things going on day in day out across the world. Yes it’s not happy, and if people are being affected in their daily lives it means they are finally realising this.
    Life isn’t even close to happy for probably realistically billions of people. The more we know, the more can be changed because it all starts with education. Education, action, change.

  12. Oare Azenabor says:

    She said it all in a nutshell!

  13. ellion says:

    this is a great watch Angelina in conversation with a young girl who’s apart of RefuSHE.

  14. TeamMeg says:

    Huge fan of this woman—a living icon of caring, power and grace. I love everything she said in this article. The pictures are wonderful! She’s looking quite like Marcheline in the close up. Simply beautiful.

  15. PnP says:

    Debbie downer? Really? I love this site but you really have to acknowledge the privilege of that statement. There’s nothing happy about what some people are going through right now. And this attitude that some people have of not wanting to hear it because it will get in the way of their happy feelings is part of the problem.

  16. WilliamJoelene says:

    I’d worry about disabled bunnies with the snakes.

    • Zut alors says:

      They’ve had that snake for a while plus they had a bunny before. It doesn’t sound like the kids are careless with their animals’ care.

  17. Kay says:

    She will still be making films – that’s her profession and income. Even when she was younger she always wanted to use her fame and wealth to do something good in the world. She just doesn’t want to be dragged down by silly gossip that other celebrities survive on. She has a wide range of things she can talk about.

  18. florencia says:

    I just love her so much, forever a fan!