Terry Crews sparks outrage with controversial 'Black supremacy' tweet
Terry Crews is facing backlash after tweeting Sunday night, in part, that "defeating white supremacy without White people creates Black supremacy."
He added, "Equality is the truth" and "Like it or not, we are all in this together."
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine star did not elaborate on his "Black supremacy" remark, which comes amid continuing protests around the world following the death of George Floyd while in police custody, a tragedy Crews has addressed himself multiple times recently.
Before long, Crews' name was trending on Twitter, with many taking issue with the actor's suggestion of "Black supremacy."
Whiskey Cavalier actor Tyler James Williams, who played Crews' TV son on Everybody Hates Chris, issued a lengthy response to Crews' initial comment, writing in a series of tweets, "Terry, brother, I know your heart and you know I have love for you and always will. No one is calling 4 black supremacy & the narrative that we are hurts our cause & our people. We’re just vigorously vetting our 'allies' because time & time again they have failed us in the past."
He added, "Our people are tired of white people who put on a good face a claim they 'arnt racist' while operating and benefiting from the privilege of a clearly racist system. We’re not trying to do this alone. We KNOW we can’t. But we refuse to have allies who won’t go the distance."
While Williams said he was not "trying to call out" Crews, saying it's "all love always," he concluded his message: "But we’re rightfully angry right now and fed up with anyone not with our cause wholeheartedly. I don’t want to see that energy pointed your way or diverted from the cause."
Crews replied to the tweets, saying, "I understand, Tyler. I was not saying Black supremacy exists, because it doesn't. I am saying if both Black and Whites don't continue to work together-- bad attitudes and resentments can create a dangerous self-righteousness. That's all."
The America's Got Talent host also responded to comedian Godfrey, who wrote, "I love you as a friend Brother Terry. But I disagree with you 100 %. No such thing as Black Supremacy. That is a tactic that Racist whites use to counteract our rebellion to their horrific treatment of us. It's called Gas lighting. Black pride isn't anti white."
Crews replied, "I agree. I'm not discussing white people here. there are 'gatekeepers of Blackness' within our own community who decide who's Black and who's not. I have often been called out for not being 'black enough'. How can that be?"
Crews also replied to author and human rights activist Kevin Powell, who wrote of the actor's initial tweet: "This makes absolutely no sense, makes very Black self-hating assumption that Black folks would actually try to do harm to White people in major ways, when there is no proof in history of any such behavior even remotely close to White supremacist behavior. Please read books, sir."
The actor answered simply, "That's not what I'm saying Kevin. At all." When Powell replied again, saying, "Terry, with all due respect, given your platform, you cannot just post something like that even remotely suggests that Black people would fall into 'Black Supremacy' if we battle White Supremacy without White people."
Crews wrote back soon after: "Kevin, I've learned that people will take anything you say and twist it for their own evil. Anything."
Most recently, Crews tweeted, "Any Black person who calls me a coon or and Uncle Tom for promoting EQUALITY is a Black Supremist, because they have determined who's Black and who is not."
Many other prominent voices spoke up against Crews' original tweet that he did not reply to. Actor Orlando Jones commented, "Black supremacy? We represent 13% of US population, hold no institutional power & gaslight our coworkers. We got 99 problems and your math isn't the only 1."
Westworld star Jeffrey Wright seemingly responded by posting a black-and-white photo of a 19th-century slave with lashing scars covering his exposed back. "Is Black supremacy not whining 'cause the barbershop closed during a pandemic?" Wright captioned the photo in an apparent reference to Crews' tweet.
Shortly after Floyd's death, Crews posted an emotional video on Instagram saying he saw himself in the 46-year-old black man, who died May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in an encounter caught on video. Chauvin has been charged with murder and manslaughter.
"First of all my heart is broken," Crews said in the video. "George Floyd looks like me. George Floyd could be me. I could easily, easily be that man on the ground with that police officer's knee on my neck. That could easily be me."
The actor spoke out against racial injustice in TV interviews and on social media, where he also reflected on sexism and his own behavior, once again apologizing to actress Gabrielle Union for not standing behind her after she was fired as a judge on America's Got Talent.
"I want to make further amends with Black women, and in particular [Gabrielle Union] for not recognizing the privilege I have - especially in the workplace- and adding this fact to my earlier apology," he wrote.
In addition, Crews and his Brooklyn Nine-Nine castmates and showrunner announced Tuesday that they have donated $100,000 to the National Bail Fund Network in solidarity with protests.
In a statement posted on social media by cast members including Crews, the B99 team said they "condemn the murder of George Floyd and support the many people who are protesting police brutality nationally." They also promoted the hashtag #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd and added, "We encourage you to look up your local bail fund: the National Bail Fund Network is an organization that can lead you to them."
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine donation came after some people on social media called for actors who have portrayed police officers to donate money to organizations helping protestors, given that their performances have helped shape public opinion about law enforcement.
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
- Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
- Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.