David Byrne says he made a "major mistake in judgement" over blackface use in 'Stop Making Sense' promo

News 02/09/2020

David Byrne has addressed his use of black and brownface in a promo skit for Talking Heads' 1984 concert film 'Stop Making Sense'.

Byrne explained on Twitter, revealing that a journalist had recently pointed out a particular part of the promo material where Byrne appeared as a number of different characters interviewing himself, with some of the characters portrayed as people of colour.

He explained that he had just forgotten about the skit and is grateful that it has been brought to his attention.

Watch the promo skit in question below.

"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," he wrote. "It's like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else- you're not, or were not, the person you thought you were."

Byrne also added, "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."

He concluded his message addressing to fans, "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."