David Byrne apologizes for wearing brown and blackface in 1984 Stop Making Sense promo skit
David Byrne is owning up to offensive material from his past.
On Tuesday, the former Talking Heads frontman apologized for a 1984 skit in which he appears in brownface and blackface. The skit, a promotional video for the band's concert film Stop Making Sense, features Byrne interviewing himself as multiple characters, some of whom are people of color.
In a Twitter thread, Byrne said a journalist had recently reminded him of the video, writing, "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."
He continued, "We have huge blind spots about ourselves — well, I certainly do. I’d like to think I am beyond making mistakes like this, but clearly at the time I was not. One hopes that 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."
A number of celebrities have recently addressed similar incidents from their careers, including Jimmy Kimmel and Howard Stern. Several sitcom episodes featuring depictions of blackface have also been pulled from streaming amid a nationwide reckoning over the country's history of racism.
Stop Making Sense