An old interview with Martin Lawrence on the Arsenio Hall Show is catching a lot of attention from viewers online. It’s unclear as to what date the interview first premiered but judging from the conversation it was right around the time MARTIN the TV series was getting noticed. The interview shows a young and fresh face Lawrence reflecting on his then success. His cast-mates Garret Morrison, Thomas Ford, Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold, Jon Gries, and Carl Payne all sat in attendance watching their co-star lead. In recent years we’ve seen Lawrence play in a number of roles but in his then talk with Arsenio it appears that his focus may have shifted. Once watching you can tell that Lawrence came with a message of empowerment far from what we have normally seen in high-profiled interviews. Outlet YBW went on to further express the rare one on one with Lawrence and Arsenio.
Lawrence talked a lot about his Mom and the wisdom she often spoke into his life like when the media lashed out at him calling him a “clown” and a “buffoon”. Lawrence said his mom reminded him to walk in the purpose of his namesakes. His first name was after Martin Luther King and his middle name Fitzgerald was after former president John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK)–he says, “two good people who tried to bring this world together“. And that Lawrence thought was his mission as well, but instead of politics and activism, Lawrence’s call was joy and laughter. She told him to remember who he was…a comedian–it was his job to make people laugh. Then Lawrence said his mother reminded him “to think of the times you’re living in You can’t even drive down the street. Racism still exists, we’ve got to admit it.People we don’t speak to each other …we’re pulling guns and taking each other. [sic] This world ain’t supposed to be like this. This is all wrong. We’re fighting for the wrong things. Everybody measures success in having a big car. Having a big house but success is measured in your happiness. Because if you ain’t happy, it don’t mean a damn thing.” The crowd went wild applauding. Lawrence added that his mom also helped him to remember “if we get back to why we’re really here—man ain’t God, God is God…So to all the people that would call me a clown, buffoonish, say I’m silly, who is this kid?’ I walk with the faith because Momma told me so, I’m Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence.
This conversation not only struck then but even resonates now with the current state of injustice. Lawrence went to put a spotlight on Black Hollywood and the battles he had with executives on creative control. The message given through out the interview is something we all could take a lesson from. It appeared that Martin was getting ready to launch his own infrastructure in Hollywood right before his series was cancelled. MARTIN still remains to be one of the most watched sitcoms to date. After watching you can’t help but wonder at what point did Lawrence decide to pull back from what seemed to be his very revolutionary stance.
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