‘Sorry to Bother You’ Director Boots Riley Talks how ‘White Voice’ is Used in His Film

Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You

In Sorry to Bother You, Boots Riley’s directorial debut movieLakeith Stanfield plays Cassius “Cash” Green, a  Black man down on his luck who eventually lands a job as a telemarketer and adopts the use of a “White voice” to climb the corporate ladder.

Riley, who has worked as a telemarketer, said the actors put on performances of their lives and his film is a reflection of that.

“I think what the movie is talking about is the performance of Whiteness as opposed to … this style that’s Blackness,” Riley told EBONY. “In reality, it’s a performance that we’re all doing.”

The director added that the “White” voice is equated with a comfortable life, and Black people are often blamed for the way they speak because there is a belief that it is the reason why so many live in poverty.

“There really isn’t’ a White voice; there’s this idea that even White folks have of what they’re supposed to sound like. It’s connected to this idea that everything is OK and that things aren’t a struggle,” he continued. “That’s exactly counterposed to racist Black tropes that their culture is lacking, and that causes them to make mistakes that [lead to] poverty. In reality, there’s an economic system that necessitates poverty.”

Check out Riley’s full interview with EBONY above.

Sorry to Bother You is in theaters now.

Newsletter

Sign up for the EBONY Newsletter

By subscribing, you agree to share your email address with EBONY to receive our weekly emails, events, and other updates. Please see our privacy policy for more information.

By subscribing, you agree to share your email address with EBONY to receive our weekly emails, events, and other updates. Please see our privacy policy for more information.

Newsletter

Sign up for the EBONY Newsletter

When you sign up for the EBONY newsletter, you’ll be the first to know about all the latest news and updates that are important to you. Gain access to exclusive interviews, videos, special events, and product giveaways delivered right to your inbox!

By subscribing, you agree to share your email address with EBONY to receive our weekly emails, events, and other updates. Please see our privacy policy for more information.