Anthony Mackie: The Unlikeliest Hotep

Disney Pictures screenshot
Disney Pictures screenshot

I should know better.

I know that movies and television shows are movies and television shows and contain actors who are acting and not being themselves. Again, I know this. I know Joe Morton isn't really the sociopathic head of a shadowy government agency. I know Kimberly Elise has an emotion other than "depressingly distraught." And I know that Michael Beach is something other than "aint shit."


But that doesn't stop me from making assumptions based on the type of characters people regularly play. There's nothing you can do to convince me that Taraji P. Henson wouldn't either be the best or the worst spades partner ever. Or that Nia Long doesn't smell like a candle store next to a chocolate factory next to a unicorn farm. Or that if I invited Terrence Howard to game night, he'd bring a bucket of wet wipes instead of a regifted bottle of Arbor Mist.

And, based on the characters Anthony Mackie usually plays, I assumed he'd be the type of smart, sharp, worldly, and Black-ass dude I'd invite to our baby shower just so we and the rest of my boys could sneak away to a bar while the rest of the party played Place The Baby On The Mommy. The type of dude who'd make you hate going to some company cookout a little less because you know he'll be there and you'd at least be able to entertain each other with jokes about shitty potato salad and awkward Wobbling. The type of dude who'd craft a snarky tweet about the need and relevance of #Blacklivesmatter; one so witty and pithy that I'd be slightly jealous I didn't think of it first.


But I was wrong to make those assumptions. Because, while I can't say with 100% certainty that Anthony Mackie is a hotep, he does have hotep tendencies. And I do not look forward to attending company cookouts with coworkers with hotep tendencies. Because I will eat the fuck out of some watermelon right in front of a White person. Shit, right in front of every White person. And I prefer to congregate with the type of Black person who'll eat it right with me, and wash it down with a quart of fried chicken skins.

Anthony Mackie does not seem to be that type of Black person. In fact, he seems to be the antithesis. The type who'd say something like this in response to a question about racial profiling.

“Like my nephew wanted to grow dreadlocks. I’m like fine, I’ll sit you down and I’ll watch The First 48 with you and everybody you see on that show, that’s doing something wrong, they’re black dudes with dreadlocks. So, do you want to be seen as part of the problem or do you want to be an individual?”

And the type who'd publicly endorse a bigoted squirrel monkey's presidential candidacy, while also claiming that he supports said squirrel monkey because he "worked his way up from nothing"…despite the fact that said squirrel monkey received at least a $50 million inheritance from his father. 

(Mackie has since claimed he was joking about Trump. Which…well, "I don't believe you, you need…")


But, that aside, what really makes me verklempt about this isn't that Mackie has some social and political views that seem to be vastly different than my own. The world would be a much less interesting place if everyone felt the same way I did about everything. I mean, someone has to buy Big Sean albums, right? No, I'm just pissed because I was fooled by the wise and insightful angel he played in The Adjustment Bureau. And the wise and insightful part-time gigolo he played in She Hate Me. And the wise and insightful superhero with no actual superpowers he played in Captain America: The Winter Solider.

We could have been something, me and the Anthony Mackie I conjured in my head. But now I'll just stick to my assumptions about Morgan Freeman (who probably makes the world's best white bread pork chop sandwiches) and Meagan Good (who…well…I'll just keep that assumption to myself).

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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SirKnows DevoidofPunk

Ok, first off: You do not wash down watermelon with fried chicken skins… you wash it down with grape kool-aid. Orange Crush if no koolaid is available.

Secondly, you have insulted Hoteps, Whole teps,Half-teps and even hoes who temp by comparing them to Anthony "We Hate Me" Mackie.

Thirdly, you gotta understand that Hollywoosah changes people—our people more so than any other people… it's sad, actually. Mackie had some sense when he was young and struggling. He ain't been right since The Adjustment Bureau, even Hurt Locker.

At this point I think we all just need to have a clock on every Black person in Hollywood. just a countdown to the moment they let us all know they've completely lost it. Maybe that kid who got kicked outta school can make the clock.