Link of the interview - HERE
The famous actor and producer, Morgan Freeman, has appeared on screen as one of the most respected figures in modern US cinema – a Hollywood icon with such impressive work as The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Invictus (2004). He also became a key figure in the shift from minor to major roles for African-American actors. He once sat down for a short chat with CNN’s Don Lemon which touched on the role that race does – or does not – play in wealth distribution in America.
The interview on the issues of race and the way the interviewer directed the questions to Morgan Freeman help shape audience’s perception of Freeman as an open-minded person, a free-thinker, an optimistic and responsible citizen who always strives for the better and the greatness. The communications between Lemon and Freeman on such a national news channel as CNN show how much knowledgeable, serious, important, and considerate the interviewee would be when he was invited by CNN to sit down and discuss about such issues. Additionally, there were times that Lemon used the opportunity to voice his thoughts. Both Lemon and Freeman expressed their sincere distaste for discussing the topic of racism. For example, when asked by Lemon if race plays a role in wealth distribution, Freeman answered insistently, “Today? No. You and I, we are proof.” He also added that, “Why would race have anything to do with it? Put your mind to what you want to do and go for that. It’s kind of like religion to me, it’s a good excuse for not getting there.” Some conservatives viewed the way Freeman addressed racism as distracting and ridiculous as they thought that Freeman left behind the whole African-American community, that he was the exception to most African Americans in America. Those conservatives also thought that he distracted individuals from the real issues to be dealt with “personal responsibility and accountability”. However, far more neutral and positive opinions show that his sincere expression for the discussion on racism helps downplay the impact of racism and inspire attempts and motivations among non-white people. To Freeman’s sentiment, certain corridors make it hard to succeed no matter which color one is, but it does not mean one cannot. Not working harder or blaming hardships on race or income is, to Freeman, just another excuse.
The way he addressed racism and inequality actually does not differ much from how I viewed him previously and what I expected him to respond to Lemon. There have been lots of times earlier in the past when Morgan Freeman voiced his opinion for a solution to racism. Every single time does he maintain his philosophy that people should work hard rather than let the racism be an excuse for their not working hard. His consistent characteristics, his hard work, his priority of responsibility and his perseverance from the very beginning of his acting career until now remain unchanged. As a fan of Morgan Freeman who knows about his films well enough, I think that what makes Freeman himself is his responsibility and sincerity. This short, straight-forward interview provides viewers with closer observation and deeper understanding about such a delightful man.
Furthermore, this short chat between Lemon and Freeman is, actually, also socially relevant. Morgan Freeman is an African American actor, starting his acting career as humbly as anyone else in filming industry. He did not blame discrimination or let it be an excuse for his hardships. He has been trying his best to climb up the ladder of success, exploring his life and times, and achieved immense respect among his world-wide audience. His insistent beliefs, endless persistence and huge sense of responsibility are the main take-away of the interview, the source of inspiration for upcoming generations. At the end, I really think that this is the very point of the interview – Do not make excuses which race you are in to wait for your dreams and keep moving towards your dreams.