You may know actor Sean Patrick Thomas from the movies like “Barbershop” and “Save the Last Dance” and TV shows like “Lie to Me.” What you may not know is that he grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and while he calls Los Angeles home these days, he’s still a huge Eagles fan and never misses watching the game. He came to Philly recently on a political mission, however, rallying support for Hillary Clinton as well as helping to drive voter registration efforts at barbershops and small businesses across the city. Thomas took a few minutes to chat with us about why he supports Clinton, explain the Black Lives Matter movement to those who may not understand it and tell us what he’s excited for this football season.
So tell us a little bit about the barbershops campaign that you’ve been doing.
It’s been fantastic. What I love about it is that the customers and barbers really want to know what’s going on and talk about it. During the primary season, I was like, “Look, your primary is February, here’s your polling place and here’s what you gotta do. Then after that you gotta vote in November.” I got to hear what people had to say and what people thought, and then [reach out] to people who hadn’t thought about voting at all.
Why do you support Hillary?
Hillary is really the only candidate throughout the primaries and now who is really serious about narrowing the wage gap between women and men — which is especially bad for black women. Black women make 63 cents on the dollar for a white man with the same job. For my son, it’s just very serious and personal to me because of what’s going on out there with systemic racism and brutality. I worry about him and he’s only 6. As he gets older, I don’t want to have to tell him, “Make sure you do this so they don’t kill you.” The thought of having to do that is unacceptable and Hillary is very serious about what’s going on out there in terms of the systemic racism — making sure law enforcement does their jobs correctly. She understands what’s going on with Black Lives Matter, you know? She’s not afraid to get up on stage with Sandra Bland’s mother or Trayvon Martin’s mother and Jordan Davis’ mother. She gets it.
And so many people still don’t get it. How would you explain the Black Lives Matter movement to someone who doesn’t understand it?
What I would say, is add the word “too”, to the end of the phrase: “Black Lives Matter, Too.” It’s a phrase to call attention to unequal treatment by law enforcement. I remember somebody gave me the example of if you’re at a convention for breast cancer, and somebody ran in and said “Hey, prostate cancer matters, too!” We’re not saying that prostate cancer doesn’t matter, we’re just saying that right here, today, we’re talking about breast cancer. So just, you know, chill out. And what I can’t stand is that, the other side, the Trumpists and a lot of the Republicans as well, they think that Black Lives Matter equates with wanting dead cops. That’s the furthest thing from the truth and it’s the biggest lie that’s out there about Black Lives Matter.
So now, going on the subject of Trump. Why do you think he’s had so much support?
Honestly, I have so little understanding of it that I’ve had to do outside reading to try and figure it out. It seems to me that there is a social hierarchy that is being threatened — the white male iconic stereotype. People feel like it’s being overtaken by women and people of color. There’s something psychologically discomforting [about it]. They’re not gonna feel like they’re the top of the totem pole anymore. That’s the best way I can understand it. It’s so illogical to me that you would be attracted to somebody who’s clearly a dunce when it comes to domestic or foreign affairs and has no idea what he’s doing. You got two resumes in front of you — which one are you gonna pick? It’s kind of a no-brainer, you know?
Yeah, if he was actually going for a job …
He’d be fired. [Laughs]
So how does it feel to be back in Philly?
I love Philly — I grew up near here in Wilmington, Delaware. I’m a hard-core Eagles fan — like a ridiculous Eagles fan, to the point where my family is just sick of me. The games come on in L.A. at 10 o’clock in the morning, and so I’m like “Hurry up, let’s get church done, let’s get breakfast done, I gotta watch the game!” Whatever it is you got going on, like leave me out of it because I’m watching my Eagles, from 10 to 1, every Sunday.
Anything you’re excited about for this season?
I’m excited for the new coaching staff! I think Doug Peterson is going to be good. I think we’re going to have a fantastic defense and I’m looking forward to seeing this new quarterback Carson Wentz get in there.
You can follow Sean Patrick Thomas on Twitter here.