Lena Waithe weighs in on cancel culture in the black community and Boomerang's #MeToo episode
Tuesday’s episode of Lena Waithe’s BET series Boomerang will center on the #MeToo movement.
The episode will take place as Simone Graham (Tetona Jackson) comes to terms with her father Marcus (played by Eddie Murphy in the 1992 movie of the same name) being accused of abusing his power at his advertising firm just as the business is set to close on a big merger.
“The idea for the episode kind of came about organically in the [writers’] room,” co-creator Waithe tells EW exclusively of the latest installment. “We wanted to deconstruct this iconic figure; Marcus Graham is a character that so many of my male friends looked up to and I, as a lesbian woman, definitely got a lot of boss swag from. He had a way with a lady. But the funny thing is, we were having a conversation about looking back at movies from the ’90s — and especially ’80s — and there’s this thing that you see in terms of behavior about men and women that’s just not kosher today.”
Similar sentiments are expressed by Ari (Leland B. Martin) in the clip above.
“We’re looking at stuff differently now, especially after the Bill Cosby stuff, and the Michael Jackson thing, the R. Kelly stuff. All of a sudden, our black male heroes are falling from grace,” says Waithe. “I believe if Marcus Graham were a real person in the real world, he would have been #MeToo-ed because of the way he treated women in the workplace — even though, at the time, it seemed very innocent and funny. I thought, ‘Why not really bring the issue that we’re dealing with today and bring it into this world?’ [The whole series has been] about modernizing that movie and that world, and you can’t make that movie today.
“This is a conversation that has been happening, but not really in terms of the African American community — and we have had some of the bigger culprits. You look at people like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, those are big stories. But to lose — to say ‘We’re, we’re canceling Michael Jackson,’ ‘You can’t watch The Cosby Show anymore,’ ‘You can’t listen to [R. Kelly’s The 12 Play.]’… these are people and things that mean so much to us and our culture. To start erasing the legacies, it’s a bittersweet thing. It’s good that we’re trying to be responsible people — that makes sure we don’t serve these people who haven’t done right by others — but it’s hard because these people have helped shape our identities.
“These men have been a beacon of light for us as a people. I think it goes back to our history: When our grandparents saw a person of color on TV, they would call the neighbors and they would all crowd around the television because it was a celebration. It was like, ‘Oh, one of us has made it,'” she continues. “That’s what Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson — and R. Kelly to a younger generation — represented.
“We’re always trying to make sure people know that we are a part of the fabric of this country. We don’t have as many handprints on the American flag as we should, and when a person falls from grace for us, one of the few black hand prints is sort of taken away. That has a really stirring affect.”
Boomerang airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on BET.
Boomerang (2019 TV series)