In a reflective essay for Vanity Fair, Samuel L. Jackson, the superstar we have all come to know and love, talked about being in Black in Hollywood and some of the situations he dealt with that are still, unfortunately, very relevant today.
The Hateful Eight actor recalled an intense interaction with the police while filming the cult classic Pulp Fiction.
At the time of the filming, the star was on the rise to fame after appearing in movies such as Jurassic Park and Coming to America. But even his newfound fame couldn’t prevent the horrific encounter he had after returning from a diner with friends..
Samuel said in the penned essay, “When I was shooting Pulp Fiction, we shot the diner stuff first, and then I was off for six weeks because they had to shoot Bruce’s and Uma’s sections.” During the short break Samuel says he acted in a play in Los Angeles at Coast playhouse.
He continued, “One night, after the play, I went with some friends to a restaurant down the street, Hugo’s.”
Upon finishing their meal at the diner, Samuel says he and his friends proceeded to walk outside and stand on the corner, which is when they were confronted by five sheriff’s cars, guns pointed.
“There we were, lying facedown in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard. I finally said to the cops, ‘Why are you doing this?’ One of them said, ‘Oh, we got a report of five black guys standing on the corner with guns and bats,’” Samuel recalled.
During that dreadful moment, Samuel thought to himself, “‘I’m in Hollywood now, on the verge of breaking through, and this is still going on,’” he called. “It kind of put my feet back on the ground in terms of “O.K., you’re still just another nigger working in town, so you still got to walk softly.” And I still do. Just an object lesson for life in L.A.”
Samuel’s story is cruel reminder that no matter who you are or what you’ve achieved, you must always “walk softly.”