“I realize that when speaking to reporters who are looking for the juiciest comments to print, a word like gangster in connection with a black president uttered by a black celebrity can almost be too much to resist,” the Oscar-nominated actor wrote. “I say this not in defense but to offer some perspective. I believe I used the word gangster and I meant it. But I wasn’t talking about pants sagging and forties and ‘hoes’ or any of that other nonsense and I find it hard to believe that that is what some people thought I was saying. I was talking about wish fulfillment; my own and my desire to witness something more than I had.”
Cheadle continued, writing that he was eager to campaign with President Obama in 2008 and will support him in the upcoming election, as well. Still, he has not seen the changes he had anticipated and for which he had hoped.
“Many of my friends and family are scratching it out somewhere decidedly south of the ever widening gap between the haves and have nots, looking at losing their homes, colleges they can’t afford and healthcare they can’t avail themselves of. They’re the ones I’m thinking of when I say gangster,” he wrote, noting the constraints of having to work with an uncooperative Congress. “President Obama inherited a broken country mired in two wars, a financial crisis, a mortgage mess and more than we all probably even know about and has in my opinion brought us back from the brink. But I still see my friends in no better shape and the gap widening.”
“I still have a fevered dream of the POTUS smacking up John Boehner in a public forum in middle America and making him defend support of tax cuts for the super rich,” he said. “I want to see somebody go to jail over the financial crisis and not just black, brown and poor whites over humbles and minor drug beefs. I want the president to bail out homeowners who fell for the okey doke from predatory lenders and are two seconds from living on the streets or are already there… I want him to stand in front of the haters and go all Bill Duke on them and say, ‘You know you done fucked up now, don’t you?’ I kinda want a gangster president. I was about to write that in the future I would chose my words more carefully but I’m sure I won’t.”
Cheadle heard a lot of blowback for his statement to Jet over Twitter on Thursday night, leading to his long post. You can read his dialog with those criticizing him over at his Twitter page. His comments come amidst mounting criticism of the President from a Hollywood that was once actively pro-Obama; earlier this month, Matt Damon took Obama to task once again for not doing enough to reverse economic and educational decline.
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