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David Byrne Apologizes for Wearing Blackface in 1984 Stop Making Sense Promo Video

on September 01, 2020, 1:54pm

As the entertainment world continues to confront its ugly history of racism, another prominent artist has come forward to apologize for wearing blackface.

In a series of tweets posted Tuesday, David Byrne expressed remorse for wearing black and brown face in a 1984 promotional video for the Talking HeadsStop Making Sense concert film. In the clip in question, Byrne portrays various characters that interview Byrne proper — and some of those are people of color.

“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,” the British-American musician wrote on Twitter this afternoon. “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,” continued the 68-year-old Byrne. “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.”

“I’d just about forgotten about this skit and I’m grateful that it has been brought to my attention.”

Read Byrne’s full Twitter statement below.

In recent months, late-night TV hosts like Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon have apologized for appearing in blackface in the past. Additionally, episodes of The OfficeScrubs, and The Golden Girls featuring blackface characters have been pulled from streaming sites.

In related news, Spike Lee’s film version of the American Utopia Broadway production premieres on HBO next month.