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Julie Christie, I used to hang out with her. She was friends with Richard Pryor and Warren Beatty and all of them. There was a club in Beverly Hills called the Candy Store, a private club. I used to hang out with them all.
I think about never losing my voice, never giving in, never selling out, always keeping black, always sticking to the street. Staying neighborhood and not Hollywood.
Whatever that thing is that white people like in blacks, I don't have it. Maybe it's my arrogance or my self assurance or the way I carry myself, but whatever it is, I don't have it.
When they were making black films in the '60s and the '70s, everyone knew their place, if you get my drift. You understand? Everyone knew the rules, and everyone knew their place. Everyone knew what to say. They had the written rules in Hollywood film, and the unwritten rules.
I'm like the Davy Crockett of comedy... after Davy Crockett opened up the West and helped everybody... they didn't need him anymore. I freed a lot of comics... if I never would have done comedy, it would've been a different art form... I'm sure of it.
I've never seen anyone more messed up over success than Richard Pryor. For him, it's a constant battle between success in the white world and keeping it real for his black self.
You know who you are. If my mother is a nun and someone comes up to me and they go, 'Your mother is a prostitute.' It is not going to bother me, because I know my mother is a nun, she's not a prostitute.
I am very concerned about Barbara Streisand using the 'H' word 'honkey.' That's what I am concerned about. I am worried about Barbara.
Sometimes, what you do you have no control over because it's predestined. It's gonna happen in spite of you. There's nothing you can do about it.
My grandmother was the best. She loved you for you. She loved me for me. She was old school. They broke the mold with her. They don't make them like that any more.
The ground swell is what's going to sink you as well as being what buoys you up. These are cliches also, of course, and I'm sometimes interested in how much one can get away with.
What I try to do is to go into a poem and one writes them, of course, poem by poem to go into each poem, first of all without having any sense whatsoever of where it's going to end up.
I suppose for whatever reason I actively welcome being put down, something which perhaps goes back to my upbringing that accusation of not being worthy which could be laid at one's door.
That's one of the great things about poetry; one realises that one does one's little turn that you're just part of the great crop, as it were.
Obviously one of the things that poets from Northern Ireland and beyond had to try to make sense of was what was happening on a day to day political level.
On the other hand, at some level the mass of unresolved issues in Northern Ireland does influence the fact that there are so many good writers in the place.