Emmy Award winner Joe Morton, who is known for portraying Papa Pope in Scandal, spoke to the Los Angeles Sentinel about his upcoming role in the Justice League film and the current Dick Gregory inspired play, “Turn Me Loose”.
Los Angeles Sentinel: You are currently playing in a superhero movie. Do you have a personal superhero in your life?
Joe Morton: “I think the biggest superhero in my life is Dick Gregory. He was an extraordinary human being. He gave his money to help more with the Civil Rights Movement. He had this incredible fountain of information. He was constantly reading a number of newspapers about what was going on in the world. That is where his comedy came from.”
Morton spoke about the obligation artists must pursue to combat the growing tensions in society.
LAS: Dick Gregory was known to combat adversity. How is adversity an influence to your art?
JM: “I think adversity is similar to having to heal a wound. That wound is inflicted to let us know something is wrong that needs to be fixed. So as an artist, on one level it is an obligation for you to hold a mirror to the world and talk about the problems that need to be addressed. The interesting thing about the play Turn Me Loose is we are still talking about the problems Dick Gregory said 45 years ago today.”
LAS: What do you want people to take away from the Turn Me Loose play?
JM: “My hope is that people will walk out the play with the message on their mind for a while. I hope it will be a catalyst for them to do something. Go to a protest, make a donation, or help someone in need. It’s all about being of service to another. You don’t have to do it on the magnitude of Dick Gregory. Do something small. We need people to go out to service our fellow human beings and not just be entertained.”
LAS: What would you say to artists who want to change the world but lack the notoriety?
JM: “Give it time. You hear people who believe in overnight success but it probably took them years to reach it. You have to understand what road you want to pursue. All of it takes perseverance and takes time.”
Turn Me Loose is currently playing at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Artist through Nov. 17