Cuba Gooding, Jr.: ‘Black men have to wear different faces in America’

Actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. fears tragic teen Trayvon Martin may have been killed because he wasn’t old enough to appreciate the fact he needed to “wear a different face” the night he was attacked and killed by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was acquitted of Martin’s murder last month (Jul13), prompting protests across America from civil rights groups, who felt he had literally escaped from a lengthy murder sentence.
African-American celebrities have also spoken out about the controversial verdict and now Jerry Maguire star Gooding, Jr. has weighed in, explaining he has learned over time that he has to offer different faces in different situations.
He explains, “The Trayvon Martin thing sparked another reminder that we do need to wear certain faces that represent a mentality indicative of our surrounding. (The Butler co-star) Terrence Howard said if Trayvon had recognised the face he needed to wear at that moment it might’ve been a different outcome.
“We may wish it was different but we as African-Americans still deal with this very real situation of many faces that are required.”
He adds, “There is that very aggressive aspect of my life that I have a specific face… When I’m in a boxing gym with predominantly black and Hispanic, aggressive men there’s a different face that I put on. You have to watch what you say because you will be held accountable, so there’s a certain face I wear there.
“Then there’s a very different face that I wear with my children in these very expensive schools that I have them in. There’s a very specific face I wear as a celebrity. The film (The Butler) is indicative of the many faces black men had to wear in this time specifically in the South as domesticated and professional people. The black men in the film wore a very different face around Martin Luther King than he did around (former U.S. President Richard) Nixon.”