Jan 16 2009
Laurence Fishburne eating AMC popcorn

Laurence Fishburne Talks Barack Obama: Change + The Hollywood Effect

Here it is, Friday aka Notorious weekend. I’ll be at an AMC theater tonight (below freezing temperatures be damned) and with any luck Laurence Fishburne will be in the lobby.. “Sup Morpheus? Sign my popcorn bag!” Early this week, Laurence Fishburne sat down with Tavis Smiley to talk shop about his portrayal of Thurgood Marshall in the one-man Broadway play, Thurgood. The play’s run ended in August, but Fishburne plans things long-range.. “In 2010 I’m bringing it to Los Angeles.” Get your tickets now.

Of course any current conversation isn’t going to skip over next week’s historic inauguration of Barack Obama. Laurence Fishburne, the blurb is yours..

“With respect to President-elect Obama, I’m just - I’m so happy and so - my outlook is just so positive..
I’m an eternal optimist to begin with, but I think his presidency has created a huge opportunity for so many people in this country to be change, to be the change that we’ve all sort of - we’ve all, like, raised our hand and used our voices and said, Yes, we want change. And now we actually have an opportunity to take the steps necessary to create change with this particular man as sort of the focal point for that movement. Because he’s such an inspiring individual and such a positive individual, an intelligent man, and obviously one who has some spiritual weight..

And so all of these things kind of coming together - there was an article in the Times about the “Obama O-ffect,” and they had me in the paper in my coming in for Petersen (on CSI) as one of the results of those things. But I think it’s just all sort of happening at the same time.”

Tavis: Which raises a question for me, because I’m glad you referenced the Times piece. I wanted to ask you a question relative to that, which is whether or not that openness, that change, spearheaded by Obama, will stretch to Hollywood. And on the one hand it’s a strange question to ask you, because you are an A-list star. On the other hand, you see what I’m getting at?

Laurence Fishburne flashes 'the right watch'

“I do. But you know what’s funny, if you think about it, if you look at some of the recent things that have been on television, and particularly in the medium of television - and I’m talking specifically about two shows: “West Wing” and “24.” There was a Black president on “24.” ..  And there was a great character played by Harry Lennix in “Commander in Chief” with Geena Davis as the president. I think certain people in the Hollywood community have been ready for this, anticipating this moment in our history, for a while, and I also think that many American people have been anticipating this kind of an event for longer than maybe we even realize.

So I don’t think there’s going to be any aspect of American life where Obama’s presidency doesn’t have some kind of lasting and positive effect.

I don’t necessarily mean that the floodgates will open and things will become great for all of the poor people who exist in America, whether they’re Black or White or anywhere in between. But I do believe that we have an opportunity to figure out how to come together as Americans and put aside our differences.

Can we do that as we move forward in the days after the inauguration? I’m optimistic that we can.”

Want video? See the full interview at The Tavis Smiley Show w/ Laurence Fishbrune

☼ What's Your Opinion? ☼

1 Steph Fri, Jan 16, 2009 - 3:18 pm

I saw Larry…lol…this summer at the booth theater in Thurgood. And let me tell you….it takes some guts being on stage for 2hrs alone with his one man show. He WAS PHENOMENAL….a must see…Stephanie approved….

2 Leonita Tue, Oct 23, 2012 - 5:08 pm

Ari:I am a colleague and frenid of Mike Maday in CO Springs, CO, whom you mentioned in your book. Some insights that appear to be going unnoticed in CO and especially the bellwether county El Paso County, CO where even though Republicans own a 2-to-1 registered voter base but where El Paso also holds the 2nd highest number of Democrats in the state of CO. 2010 Midterm saw that Bennet won the unaffiliated (independents) in the county 51% to 25% going to the collection of 3rd Party candidates (4 being rightwingers, 2-o-1 in that pool) and Buck receiving 23% of that vote. Furthermore a State Senator, Dem majority leader Morse won re-election with a similar fashion in the county, (actually Morse carried 55% of the unaffiliated’s in his district) and won by 1.1%. Dem’s indeed turned out at a 82% rate in the early vote stage that included the mail votes. Election day voting was way down at 32% of all remaining voters, where Dem’s lost a few percentage points discounting the theory of a late surge. What this is telling me is that independents in CO and El Paso County rejected the Tea Party candidacies 7.5-to-2.5 in a state where there are supposedly more Tea Party affiliated voters. Furthermore the Maes-Tancredo vote has demonstrated a real fragmenting of the Republican brand and party where it appears only 190,000 Republicans are real party loyalists, (same number that McGinnis got in the Rep primary). This represents about 11% of the entire electorate that voted and about 25% or less of the entire registered Republican base in the state. What this means is foretelling going forward. In the end Donkeys remain herded, but the Elephants are splitting up.