“I realize that when speaking to reporters who are looking for the juiciest comments to print, a word like gangster in connection with a black president uttered by a black celebrity can almost be too much to resist,” the Oscar-nominated actor wrote. “I say this not in defense but to offer some perspective. I believe I used the word gangster and I meant it. But I wasn’t talking about pants sagging and forties and ‘hoes’ or any of that other nonsense and I find it hard to believe that that is what some people thought I was saying. I was talking about wish fulfillment; my own and my desire to witness something more than I had.”
Cheadle continued, writing that he was eager to campaign with President Obama in 2008 and will support him in the upcoming election, as well. Still, he has not seen the changes he had anticipated and for which he had hoped.
“Many of my friends and family are scratching it out somewhere decidedly south of the ever widening gap between the haves and have nots, looking at losing their homes, colleges they can’t afford and healthcare they can’t avail themselves of. They’re the ones I’m thinking of when I say gangster,” he wrote, noting the constraints of having to work with an uncooperative Congress. “President Obama inherited a broken country mired in two wars, a financial crisis, a mortgage mess and more than we all probably even know about and has in my opinion brought us back from the brink. But I still see my friends in no better shape and the gap widening.”