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The Good Lord Bird: Daveed Diggs On Playing Frederick Douglass And Finding The Humor In History

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You may have seen Grammy and Tony Award winning Daveed Diggs in many different works of art. From Blindspotting to Hamilton and Snowpiercer, Daveed is definitely working.

The actor and musician has now taken on the role of the iconic Frederick Douglass in the James McBride book adaptation of ‘The Good Lord Bird.’

While critics may say the story of slavery on the big screen has overstayed its welcome, you’d be pleasantly surprised about author James McBride’s approach to telling the story of slavery and John Brown, a White abolitionist.

“I think James McBride’s genius in the novel is just that you hear it so much louder. The story sinks in so completely because you laugh the whole way through because it’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.”

He continues, “What it allows for are the moments in history that are ridiculous to be ridiculous. Which are things that are often moments in history that we put up on this pedestal. When you back up a little bit the institution of slavery in itself is ridiculous and so is the idea of freedom to a person who was slave.”

Diggs also spoke on Frederick Douglass and the common misconception that he was for bloodshed as an answer to ending slavery.

“Frederick Douglass wrote after John Brown died, ‘I was willing to live for the slaves and John Brown was ready to die for them.’ Frederick Douglass in a very real way was not about to go die in order to emancipate the slaves. He didn’t believe that was what his journey was.”

You can watch the full interview below:

The Good Lord Bird, which also stars Ethan Hawke and Joshua Caleb Johnson, airs every Sunday on Showtime at 9pm et/pt.

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