EXCLUSIVE: Actor Brandon T. Jackson Talks Flying While Black

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Actor/comedian  Brandon T. Jackson, who you probably know best from Roll Bounce or Tropic Thunder (unless you were one of the unfortunate few to see Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, is heading to the Arlington Improv near Dallas this weekend. But he wanted to share more than that with the listeners of the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

Last year, Jackson was escorted off a U.S. Airways flight from New York to  Los Angeles when it made its scheduled stop in Phoenix, Arizona. He was accused by the airline of being drunk and disorderly. Jackson countered by saying that a flight attendant called him a racial slur, and was backed up by a fellow passenger. Here is his side of the story.

TOM JOYNER: Performing at the Arlington Improv this weekend, he started last night.  Yeah Brandon, how you doing, man?

BRANDON T. JACKSON: I’m doing good, man.  I got something for you, J. First of all, you know what, that was a true story, they, they really turned that around on me on TMZ.  I was, I really got called, you know, the N word.  But the lady put the A on it.

SYBIL WILKES: So what happened?  What happened?  You were on a plane.

JACKSON:  Okay, you want to know, forget it, I’m gonna say this now.  I’m, I’m, I could say this here, because nobody know, I talk about it in my standup a little bit too.

This is what happened, true story, they was having this like convention, some elderly ladies in front of me in the, in the exit row.  They was up just partying and stuff and having fun.  And then the captain said, I mean, the flight attendant said, the captain can’t serve you all, you all too loud.

When she was coming around with the cart, I said, ma’am, we not loud, there’s a lady in front they, they up, just, you know, you know, they was drinking and they was talking and everybody was up.

20 minutes later I went in the back of the plane, I said, ma’am, I haven’t got a drink, I haven’t got nothing, I’ve got no food, can I get some sandwiches, some drinks?  She said, sir, could you please take your seat because you can’t, you know, the captain said you can’t have no drinks.  I’m like, ma’am, I never had no drink.  She said you guys are too loud.  I said, no, no, ma’am, you got to see, and I pointed in the front.  I said, ma’am, it’s the ladies up there, if you look at the exit row, right?

She was like, no, well, y’all need to sit down.  I said, that’s not us, that’s a different party.  I’m just an actor, you know, I’m rehearsing my lines, because I was on my way to do my new TV show, I’m rehearsing my lines and was on my way to New York.  And she was like, sir, well, she didn’t say sir, she said N word, N-I – she said N word but with the A on it, right? She said, I don’t care if you’re Obama’s son, sit down.

J. ANTHONY BROWN: She said that?

JACKSON: Exactly what she said.  Yes.  And they turned it around on me like I was Lamar Odom in the exit row. I was rehearsing lines, not doing lines. I was mad, man.  I tweeted ‘Help.’  I’m like, mayday, y’all.  Mayday.  It’s going down.  It’s going down.  Mayday.

JOYNER: Now what race was she?

JACKSON: I think she was like either Armenian or something, but it, it was inappropriate.  And the way she said the N word, it wasn’t like she called me the E-R, it’s like the way, she was trying to be cool.

WILKES: Right.

JACKSON:  I thought she was French Montana.  I was like, I ain’t worried about nothing. So I was mad, man.  So then I tweeted  and he media picked it up.  And then TMZ got mad because they couldn’t do the story.  The next day I wake up they got Brandon T. Jackson ‘drunk on a plane.’  I was, I didn’t even do nothing.  So then there was a whole thing, I had my mom calling, the church was praying for me.  It was just crazy.  I was like, this is ridiculous.  But that was a lie. My mom and the sisters, they was having the prayer warriors, throwing holy water on me, you ain’t drunk.

WILKES: So did you follow through with this woman who …

BROWN: Are you going to sue them?

JACKSON: I’m not, no man, I’m not suing them, I’m not doing nothing, because they could flip that around and be like …

BROWN: They put you on the no fly list.  I mean they can do that right away.

WILKES: Absolutely.

JACKSON: Man, but when the cop, when I got off …

WILKES: They were waiting for you?

 JOYNER: They called the cops on you?

JACKSON: I’m like, c’mon, man.  Because the lady, I told her I was going to report her.  She came back with federal papers and she was like, when we gonna land the plane – because she didn’t want to lose her job, because she knew she was wrong – so she flipped it on me and called the captain and said I was being disruptive.  So when we landed in Phoenix they was like, uh, sir, could you please watch your head.  I was like, I didn’t do nothing.

BROWN: They locked you up?

JACKSON: No, they tried. The cop was like, he was like, sir, he hasn’t had a drink, he’s not intoxicated.  I don’t see what the problem is.  Well, the lady was like, I don’t know, he was just disruptive.  And there was ten passengers that saw what happened.  There was white passengers, like it was racist, we heard it, she shouldn’t have said it, it was inappropriate.  And they was like, okay, this is what we’re going to do. Because of all the stuff that went down or whatever disruptions we don’t want you to fly the next leg, but we’ll give you a free room tonight and you could fly tomorrow.  I was like this is stupid, this is inconvenient.

JOYNER: So you were late getting to your job.

JACKSON: I had – yeah, the next day.  I missed my first day of work because of that.  And I had to talk to the studios, they was very understanding, they knew what happened, I actually had it on tape, you know, see, we the millennial kids.  We will film you, you know what I’m saying? I had it on tape, so I show my producers, they was like, it’s okay, it’s all good.  And they heard the whole thing, so.  If they really want to release it, I have a tape of the woman, you know, doing everything, but I don’t want to go through that because they’ll probably flip that and edit that around.

BROWN: Yeah, they’ll put you on the no fly list.

JOYNER: Wow.  I mean, what a …

BROWN: They can do it.

WILKES: Dang, Brandon.

 JOYNER: What a story.

JACKSON: Yeah, but I’m good.  I’m blessed.  It’s cold outside.

WILKES: You got a new TV show coming out too.

JOYNER: And then Jay wants to come down on you, “Brandon T. Jackson sit down.” After all that.

BROWN: That means you got another five minutes of material, man.  Look what happened, look what happened, man.  God is good, man.

JACKSON: He’s trying to turn it around, I love you, man.  No, it’s good, man.  And for …

JOYNER: Don’t you feel bad, Jay?

BROWN: Yeah, I feel real bad.

JACKSON:  Well, I’m happy I got to clear it up, but this is my first time talking about it ever. On any media.  And I’m happy I can do it on The Tom Joyner Show.  I’m happy I can do it.

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