David Byrne Issues Apology for Wearing Blackface

The Talking Heads leader portrayed people of colour in a promo video for 1984's 'Stop Making Sense'
David Byrne Issues Apology for Wearing Blackface
David Byrne has apologized today for his past use of blackface and brownface in a promo video for Talking Heads' 1984 film project Stop Making Sense.

Byrne took to his Twitter today to address the decades-old clip, which finds him interviewing himself as various characters, some of which are people of colour.

"To watch myself in the various characters, including Black- and brownface, I acknowledge it was a major mistake in judgement that showed a lack of real understanding," Byrne tweeted today. "It's like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else — you're not, or were not, the person you thought you were."

Below, you can find his entire tweet thread, in addition to the 1984 promo video.

Recently a journalist pointed out something I did in a promo video skit in 1984 for the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense. In the piece I appear as a number of different characters interviewing myself, and some of the characters portrayed are people of color.

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. 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.

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.
The apology comes as Byrne gets set to release his new Spike Lee-directed film American Utopia, which will arrive on HBO September 10. That same day, the film will open the 45th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.