Jean Michel Basquiat — interview (1982)

During a television appearance in 1982, renowned artist Jean Michel Basquiat discussed a recent experience with racism. During the interview, a live caller interrupts with racist comments aimed at Basquiat.


Basquiat: All right. So tonight after this really good meal, you know I want to go to the movies. So I’d see “Taxi Driver,” which is like my favorite movie, I think. I went to this movie on 48th and 8th, this theater, and then when I got there I put my 10 dollars in the window. The lady disappeared from it and came back gave about my 10 dollars and said… [Basquiat yells off camera at someone] No music man, this is serious.

Unknown: It is a mistake.

Basquiat: So I was like denied entrance to a movie theater and you know why?

Unknown: Why?

Basquiat: So they said it was my appearance, you know, that looked like a bum, you know but it never happened to me before. I just sort…

Unknown: So don’t go to that movie theater.

Basquiat: So this is what I’m, why I’m here now right. This is my appeal to boycott the Hollywood Twin Cinema, which is they show good movies but after that…

Unknown: Everyone always wants someone to prohibit something. You know it’s always, there’s always like a restaurant they sell the coffee wrong or something or someone couldn’t use the men’s room and stuff…

Basquiat: This is a sleazy movie theater.

Unknown: Well this… but I mean if we boycotted everything everyone wanted to boycott you couldn’t go anywhere. You couldn’t go on the buses. You couldn’t take it you couldn’t take a taxi because [inaudible] … or go to a restaurant for Christ’s sake. This is what happens in New York. It’s widespread now.

Unknown: Hello? Hello?

Caller: Chris what let me ask you something, this is really something. This week how did you finally get how did you get a Buck Wheat to appear this week? I thought he was dead.

Unknown: Hello? Hello?

Caller: That really is something though are you gonna get off the next week with Spanky too or what?

Basquiat: Yeah yeah, I’m making a comeback.

Caller: Hey brother. Bro let me ask you something, didn’t you snatch my chain last week on the subway? Huh?