Wanda Sykes, an African-American, a comedian, a married lesbian with twins, and a proud recipient of a GLAAD 2010 award, takes on Chris Rock and Roland Martin over their support of Tracy Morgan’s anti-gay, hate-filled rant.
Wanda Sykes, the 47-year old African-American, comedian, and lesbian Friday night expressed her views against Tracy Morgan’s anti-gay, violence-laced homophobic rant. When she was done, she then took on fellow African-Americans Chris Rock — also a popular comedian — and Roland Martin, a CNN journalist, both of whom came out in strong support of what they see as Morgan’s right to say what he wants, without criticism.
Sykes said, “I do believe in free speech, but for a youth in TN or any other numerous place, Tracy just yelled, ‘Fire,’ in a crowded theater,” adding, ”Morgan “is just a dumb comic,” but also said she faults Tennessee lawmakers. “They’ve created an anti-gay environment,” and suggested she didn’t “believe Tracy would be so ignorant in LA, because we have a mayor, a city council,and police chief who believes we are all equal.”
Morgan’s stand-up routine June 4 in Nashville, Tennessee included, as his co-star and boss Tina Fey said, “disturbing” and “violent imagery” that included a threat to stab to death his son if he were gay, violent use of the “n” word, false comments that lesbians were faking being gay and were just angry at men, and that homosexuality is a choice that the media teaches kids to make. Morgan apologized Friday, but many have suggested his apology is insufficient.
Once Wanda Sykes made her feelings clear, via Twitter, she then set her sights on fellow comedian Chris Rock, who had said, also via Twitter, “I dont know about you, but I dont want to live in world where Tracy Morgan cant say foul inappropriate shit.”
Chris Rock seemed to be, indirectly, suggesting there were or could be laws against Tract Morgan’s right to free speech, which there aren’t. Morgan had the legal right to say what he did, just as the millions who stand against him, including Sykes, have the right to condemn his speech, and even to classify it as hate speech, which, as the Westboro Baptist Church (aka, “God Hates Fags,”) proved in the supreme Court earlier this year, is still protected by our Constitution.
Wanda Sykes response was simple and elegant, and she opted to not mention Chris Rock by name.
“Ok, piss’d reading, “I don’t want 2 live n a world where Tracy can’t say…” I Do! U Keep the world, just break me off an evolved country,” Sykes tweeted Friday night.
Later in the evening, Sykes turned her attention to CNN reporter Roland Martin, who spent a good part of the day on Twitter and Facebook vigorously debating his followers over Tracy Morgan’s comments, and ultimately wrote a column of his own in support of Tracy Morgan, titled, “WTF? Comic Tracy Morgan Has Offensive Material?”
Martin’s column essentially supports Tracy Morgan’s statements as being acceptable, evidently, because other comedians have made similar or worse comments (all the way back to George Carlin,) and because the audience laughed. Martin’s inability to judge right from wrong, see cause and effect, recognize the fact we now live in a “cult of personality” world fueled by the Internet, and his inability to see the tragic fact that LGBT kids are attempting and completing suicide at drastically higher rates that their heterosexual peers, makes his self-congratulatory 1416 word research paper offensive. (If I were CNN, I’d take away his press pass.)
But Sykes handled Martin with grace and dignity.
“Ro, I love and respect you, so I feel that I can tell you that your column is some bullshit. We can do better.”
Coming back to the issue Saturday morning, Sykes added, “Tracy has the right to say whatever he wants to say, just like we have the right to say, not acceptable.,” and, “WE as a country. We used to picnic to watch public hangings, but WE figured out, that was some sick shit.”
For more, I encourage you to read Roland Martin’s skewed and narrow-minded column, read John Aravosis’ excellent response, and read Keith Boykin’s tweets on the so-called debate. Personally, I think some things are clearly wrong, like Tracy Morgan’s vile rant, Roland Martin’s defense of it, and Chris Rock’s selfish and mistaken tweet.
And then thank Wanda Sykes.
Chris Rock kinda changed his tune:
Tracy morgan is a tad off we all know that so when tracy says something i usually don't take it anymore serious than i would a statement from gary busey or flavor flav .when i first heard the statement i thought it was offensive but it also reminded me of my father saying ill kill you if you ever bring home a white girl but after reading everything tracy said . wow i get it that shit wasn't called for and i don't support it at all. now can i please go to the tony awards without getting my ass kicked .