Exclusive Interview: ‘RACE’ Stars Talk Jesse Owens & Current Racial Tensions In America

Posted by: cnikky

Stephan JamesScreen Shot 2016-02-18 at 10.47.54 PM

Race is the long awaited biopic about Olympic Gold Medal hero, Jesse Owens.  Owens was the fastest man in the world, during the 1930’s.  And during a time when racial tension was at an all time high in the Jim Crow south, he went to the Olympics to represent a country that didn’t consider him equal.  And the Olympics were being held in Nazi Germany during the beginning of the Holocaust.  With all odds stacked against him, including NOT having the support of the NAACP, Jesse Owens won 4 Gold Medals.

Beverly and Marlene Owens

I recently sat down with Selma star, Stephan James, who portrayed Jesse Owens and Jesse’s real life daughters Marlene and Beverly Owens.  We discussed the biopic and their thoughts on the racial climate of today.  Is this the best timing for the film, with the #BlackLivesMatter movement being so prevalent and the #OscarsSOWhite discussion being debated? Does racism still exist? What do you think?

Cherise Nicole and Stephan James

How do you think this movie will be received with our current racial climate?

“I think this film is perfect.  And it’s great that people are talking about this sort of thing and raising the discussion.  I think it’s great, people are going to be able to see this film and Jesse’s a big testament to it doesn’t matter what you look like, or where you come from, you’re able to accomplish great things anyone is.  So, I think that people will definitely take that away from this film.”

Do you think racism still exist?

“Yeah. I think there’s a bunch of problems that still exist.  And it’s clearly important that we’re talking about it.  And it’s clearly important that the discussion is made.  But, like I said with this film we’re able to shed light on the kind of person that Jesse was.  And he embodied what it meant to not see color. He was color blind essentially. “

Race Opens in theaters everywhere on Friday, February 19th!

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