The scene outside Denver restaurant Mezcal last night was a zoo, as way too many people tried to cram into way too small a space for an event, hosted by the National Black Caucus and the Creative Coalition, honoring African-American leaders. A press-shy Spike Lee was on hand — he was accepting an award — as were Alfre Woodard, Rachel Leigh Cook, Alan Cumming, Matthew Modine, Richard Schiff, Giancarlo Esposito, Dana Delaney, and TV writers Lawrence O'Donnell and Tom Fontana. Also there: Staten Island's own RZA, who was in town for the premiere of his new movie Gospel Hill, directed by Esposito, and who not too long ago had been stumping for Hillary Clinton. Jada Yuan caught up with him.
What do you think of Biden?
I don’t know Mr. Biden. I just saw him on TV yesterday.
He got in trouble last year for saying Obama was the first “clean and articulate” African-American candidate we’d ever had run for president.
He got in trouble for that?!
I guess it was seen as stereotyping.
A lot of us ain’t clean and articulate, because we grew up in harsh conditions. So Mr. Obama is clean and articulate. I’m actually proud to watch him on TV, myself, as a black man, because I think we hold our dicks when we walk — know what I mean? — and he got something about him that’s really classy. It’s like in every nation and every race, you have some people that are born as a prince because of the natural way they are.
Do you support him because he’s the first black candidate or for other reasons?
I’m not really a political guy. Some of my friends were supporting Hillary in the beginning, and I do what my friends do. I was trying to help Hillary in the beginning.
Because I thought, When the Clinton family was in office, my family had better food in their house. I could call my aunt up and she could say, “Yeah, things is good.” Now everybody calls me for money. So I thought that Clinton could help out families better. But when she moved out of the race and I started watching Mr. Obama, I actually became a fan of his. You know, this man has something elegant about him!
And I watched Mr. McCain, too, and I know he went through a struggle with the war and all that. But in all reality, if you're a POW, it means you've been locked up and in jail. And in our country, you can’t vote as a felon. A lot of people can’t vote because once you’ve been locked up and incarcerated, it changes your mentality. He did that for his country. That’s a great thing and a great sacrifice. But people I know have been making comments, saying, “You know, a man who’s been through that … Rambo was crazy!”
You think McCain is crazy?
I’m not saying that. Understand, I’m just a man watching TV. I don’t know these men personally. I just think Mr. Obama is a very noble man.
I can’t vote anyway, but it just seems like his ideas are wack. He said he wants to be in Iraq for 100 years and I’m like ... why do we want to do that? That’s 100 years of costing!
Would McCain do better if felons could vote?
No, they’d be like, “Man! I ain’t gonna vote for somebody who’s been locked up!” No, jail changes people, I think. It’s supposed to correct us and bring us back, but I’ve got cousins in jail. They come out and they go back to jail.