Haitian actor Jimmy Jean-Louis speaks out against Trump’s disparaging remarks

Jean-Louis grew up in the slums of Pétionville, Haiti until age 12 before moving to France and then to Los Angeles where he settled in 1998 to pursue an acting career.

Jimmy Jean-Louis“The Heroes and Heroes Reborn” who can be seen on TNT’s “Claws” has spoken up against the President’s comments about accepting immigrants from certain nations.

At a White House meeting to discuss a bipartisan deal to give legal status to immigrants illegally brought to the United States as children, Trump demanded to know why he should accept immigrants from Haiti and African countries.

He made the remark, according to the Washington Post, NBC, the New York Times and other news organizations. White House officials didn’t initially dispute that Trump made the comment.

When legislators suggested granting visas to people from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations, Trump said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He went on to say the United States “should have more people from places like Norway,” which is overwhelmingly white.

The comment drew condemnation from around the world Friday with several prominent celebrities taking to social media to voice their concern. The Haiti-born actor has spoken to several media outlets from CNN to MSNBC defending his country calling the comment “heartbreaking.”  Jean-Louis, an actor and activist who has been interviewed by Caribpress on several occasions and featured on the publication’s print cover, played  Toussaint L’Ouverture, a former slave and leader of the Haitian Revolution, the only successful slave revolt in modern history.  In the Haitian fight for independence, L’Ouverture led thousands of former slaves into battle against French, Spanish and English forces and inspired millions of free and enslaved people of African descent to seek freedom and equality throughout the Atlantic world.

Jean-Louis has also starred in several movies filmed in Africa and worked with African directors from Kunle Afolayan in “The CEO” to Nnegest Likké on “Phat Girlz.”

Jimmy Jean-Louis Delivers a Masterful Performance in “Toussaint Louverture”

Jimmy-Jean-Louis as Toussaint

Trump, continues to deny the remark, but acknowledges he used ‘tough’ language in a tweet to refer to some countries during a private White House meeting Thursday.

Jean-Louis grew up in the slums of Pétionville, Haiti until age 12 before moving to France and then to Los Angeles where he settled in 1998 to pursue an acting career. His deep love for his homeland caused him to shift his focus from his acting career to help rebuild Haiti, ravaged by the 7.0 earthquake of January 12th, 2010. Since then, he has been very involved and often does interviews to speak about the situation in Haiti. He played the Haitian on NBC’s Heroes and the follow-up “Heroes Reborn” and appeared in the recent features Joy, “The CEO” and “Cargo.” He also co-starred in Hulu drama “The Way” and last year’s French miniseries “Juste un regard”  and has a number of film projects in various states of production.

The comments also angered Illinois state Sen. Kwame Raoul, whose Haitian parents immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s.

“I don’t think there’s any apologizing out of this,” the Chicago Democrat said of Trump. “He’s demonstrated himself to be unfit, unknowledgeable about the history of this country and the history of contributions that immigrants, particularly Haitian immigrants, have made to this country.”

Raoul, who was appointed to the Illinois Legislature to fill the vacancy left by Barack Obama’s 2004 election to the U.S. Senate, added that it was a personal slight, too. His father worked as a doctor on Chicago’s South Side for decades, often serving poor and vulnerable populations.

“It makes me embarrassed to have this guy as the president of my country,” said Raoul, who’s running in Illinois’ March primary for state attorney general.

Former President Barack Obama, who has roots in Kenya has yet to comment on Trump’s statement.

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