Politics

Actor Wendell Pierce Explains Why He Left US For London: Political Violence


Actor and entrepreneur Wendell Pierce tweeted about why he left the United States to live abroad in London – and he didn’t mince words or hold back when describing his belief that his native country has devolved into violent chaos.

“I’m home in America for the month of November. I have lived abroad for 4 of the last 5 years. Sadly, what I’ll be thankful for this holiday is leaving the US for a more peaceful life,” Pierce tweeted on Sunday, Nov. 21. “The violence in America has been normalized. Violent crime, political violence, open carry laws.”

Best known for his role as Bunk Moreland on HBO’s acclaimed series “The Wire,” Wendell Pierce is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. He began consistently spending more time in London when he landed the role of Willy Loman in the United Kingdom’s run of “Death of A Salesman,” making history as the first Black person cast in the role there.

When he returns home to the U.S., Pierce said he has “a palpable feeling of danger” no matter where he is in America. “The realization is that we have always been violent but decided to evolve away from it. Now we have embraced it full on,” he said.

“There are many people and companies profiting from the division and dysfunction in our country. The media has always had the mantra ‘if it bleeds it leads,’” Pierce noted. “But now political violence has been normalized again.”

In a 2019 interview with the Evening Standard, Pierce said his first visit across the pond occurred when he was 15 and it inspired him to be an actor. “I came here and saw the great Royal Shakespeare Company doing ‘As You Like It’, and I realized that this is a high art form, and a profession worth considering,” Pierce said.

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He told them his recent time there was delightful. “I won’t lie — posh has been a reality on this visit,” Pierce said at the time. He added, “… and I have been to pubs and I have danced on the hottest dance floors.” 

Now it seems Pierce wants to make the poshness – and peace – he’s experienced while living abroad more permanent. He noted it seems like everyone in America is carrying guns now, which is not something he is here for.

“On this particular visit home I sense a real change. I see everyone carrying,” Pierce said. “As a witness said in trial last week ‘Keys, Wallet, Phone, Gun. That’s natural.’ I don’t want to live in that world. I still get to vote and effect change but living abroad has been a Godsend.”

Being outspoken is true to Pierce’s real-life character (pun-intended). In an interview with the Financial Times, Pierce said he believed artists “should always be kinda activists.” He also acknowledged his failure to be politically correct on Twitter. “I am dangerous on Twitter! I always think I am talking to myself. And then I realize — Oh. My. God.”

Despite living abroad, Pierce said he is still an American citizen and doesn’t plan for that to change.

“I’m not abandoning my country, community, or family. I’m an American citizen. I take ownership in that because I know my family and community built this country and it’s wealth,” Pierce wrote in a follow-up Twitter thread on Tuesday, Nov. 22. “Because of work I have lived abroad and it’s a comfort knowing not everyone is carrying a gun.”

He ended his Twitter thread with a warning and a prayer. “America is on a self destructive path. We have been here before in every generation. Our correction has always saved the nation. I pray we correct our trajectory. We may not survive this time,” Pierce wrote.



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