Actor Terry Crews faced a social media backlash on Sunday after his tweet about “black supremacy” sparked controversy. Many people have been protesting in the streets and online, demanding change and an end to racism and police brutality, after George Floyd’s death in police custody on May 25.
The Brooklyn-Nine-Nine star came under fire for a tweet he posted on June 7 saying that white people and black people must work together to defeat white supremacy, or else there is a risk of creating “black supremacy.”
This is the tweet in question:
Defeating White supremacy without White people creates Black supremacy. Equality is the truth.
Like it or not, we are all in this together.
— terry crews (@terrycrews) June 7, 2020
It reads: “Defeating White supremacy without White people creates Black supremacy. Equality is the truth. Like it or not, we are all in this together.”
Many People Called Him Out on His Use of the Term ‘Black Supremacy’
— Orlando Jones (@TheOrlandoJones) June 8, 2020
Many people took issue with his use of the term “black supremacy,” saying that it isn’t a helpful perspective or a valid ideology. Actor and comedian Orlando Jones wrote: “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. #StrongerTogether.”
Comedian Godfrey said: “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.”
Activist Kevin Powell added: “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.”
Crystal Marie Fleming, a prominent sociologist and author, wrote:
But white supremacy is not a ‘bad attitude’ or ‘dangerous self righteousness’. It’s a centuries-long system of power and domination built on murdering, enslaving, oppressing, denigrating and exploiting people who are defined as ‘non-white’. Please be precise with your language..
Drawing a false equivalence between white supremacy and ‘black supremacy’ minimizes the harm enacted on Black people for centuries and fuels the myth of ‘reverse racism’. I trust this was not your intention, but it’s important to understand the weight of your words.
She explained that in her work, she explored how white supremacist racists would use the term black supremacy to undermine anti-racism movements.
Crews Responded to a Few People Who Criticized His Controversial Tweet
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.
— terry crews (@terrycrews) June 8, 2020
Crews responded to a few people who tweeted in response to his black supremacy comment. He answered Godfrey’s criticism by saying: “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?”
He also said, “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 has previously faced controversy when he was criticized for not supporting Gabrielle Union after she was not renewed as a judge on the show following her report of racism on set. In late 2019, Variety reported that Union’s contract wasn’t renewed after she told producers about a racist joke that occurred and she was also told that her hairstyles were “too black.”
Many celebrities and fans of the show supported Union after she was dropped, whereas according to EW, Crews praised the show and said he’d never experienced racism on set and it was “the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment.” After experiencing a backlash from fans, he apologized to black women and said: “I hear you, I respect you, and understand you,” without mentioning Union.
On June 4, 2020, Crews posted an apology on Twitter and specifically mentioned Union:
It is in this light I want to make further amends with Black women, and in particular @itsgabrielleu for not recognizing the privilege I have – especially in the workplace- and adding this fact to my earlier apology.
— terry crews (@terrycrews) June 4, 2020