Phonte has come to the defense of Robert Downey Jr.’s blackface portrayal in Tropic Thunder in the wake of fresh criticism on Twitter.

On Thursday (April 30), the Little Brother lyricist tweeted the movie was “fucking hilarious,” saying the satire wasn’t at black people’s expense but rather about “white actors thinking they could play any role.”

After a user responded calling Downey Jr. “the Teflon Don for pulling it off,” Phonte replied, saying the recovered drug addict “might have the greatest comeback story of all time.”

Phonte later posted a poll asking “who had the greatest return?” Answer choices included “The Mack” – in reference to the song by British R&B singer Mark Morrison – “Jesus” and “Robert Downey Jr.”

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Tropic Thunder was trending on Twitter after a user shared that his favorite tweet genre is “woke teenagers discovering Tropic Thunder,” following recent outcry about Downey Jr.’s controversial performance.

In 2009, Downey Jr. was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role of Kirk Lazarus in the film. His character is an Australian method actor who undergoes “pigmentation alteration” – skin-darkening surgery – to play the black character, Staff Sergeant Lincoln Osiris.

Tropic Thunder received the Critics Choice Movie Award for Best Comedy in 2009.

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