David Byrne Calls Wearing Blackface In 1984 Video A ‘Major Mistake In Judgement’

David Byrne issued a statement on Twitter on Tuesday (Sept. 1), apologizing for impersonating people of color, including wearing brownface and blackface, in a 1984 promotional video for the Talking Heads‘ iconic concert film Stop Making Sense.

In the promotional video, Byrne, wearing his “Big Suit” from the film, is seen interviewing himself by appearing as various journalists in a split-screen.

“Recently a journalist pointed out something I did in a promo video skit in 1984 for the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense,” Byrne tweeted in a string of posts.

“I’d just about forgotten about this skit and I’m grateful that it has been brought to my attention. 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.
It’s like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else- you’re not, or were not, the person you thought you were.”

“We have huge blind spots about ourselves- well, I certainly do,” he continued. “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.”

Byrne concluded, saying that he hopes “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.”

“This is how you graciously own and accept your past mistakes,” commented one fan. “Thank you, David.”

“It’s a matter of degree, I suppose, but all one can do is ask to be forgiven. What you wrote appeared honest and sincere to me,” wrote another.

(Photo: Raph_PH)

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