Yesterday, improv legend Wayne Brady quipped back at TV host Bill Maher, who implied that he was an extreme example of a black man who acts "non-black." Maher, never one to be politically correct, said on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS:
"I thought, when we elected the first black president, as a comedian, I thought in two years that I'd be making jokes about what a gangsta he was. Not that he's President Wayne Brady, but I thought we were getting Suge Knight."
Brady responded with a colorful HuffPost interview above that ran the gamut from an intellectual explanation on the perpetuation of the black stereotype, to good old disses. Wayne Brady’s righteous anger was more than deserved, as were his cheap shots on Maher’s black girlfriends and the like, however one aspect of this rather low piece of discourse (read: beef) went unacknowledged by Brady.
In his response, Brady accuses Maher of making this accusation of non-blackness seem okay for his viewers to think. Maher is not responsible for this ongoing public perception of Brady’s lack of black identity. Maher was using the image of Brady in such a way that it would work if the public already understood this notion of Brady’s blackness.
We do remember Chappelle’s show, wherein Paul Mooney originally claimed “White people love Wayne Brady because he makes Bryant Gumble look like Malcolm X.” Famously, Wayne Brady later appeared in a sketch on where he disproved this distinction by pimping women and shooting people from the driver seat of his Cadillac Escalade. Needless to say, this satirical effort was a defiant piece of social commentary, but, digging deeper, he was acknowledging the truth, that he is not like the stereotype and is therefore "less black" than the image of African American males, in the eyes of the backwards public opinion.
Although it functionally boosted Brady’s already ample credibility, it did not fix the problem, and, apparently the issue still has not been put to bed. Maher merely brought this perception back into the world of the media. Isn't his comment just a drop in the bucket?