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Conquest of the supreme heights by a black entertainer—let alone a hat trick, three in the same season—is unprecedented.
Murphy, Cosby, and Michael Jackson might be the first black superstars of post-racist America._____________ series, were at the beginning of their careers, they were pressing eagerly for a screenplay that had been written for Julie Christie.
He has freed himself entirely from the Dick Gregory tradition of playing to white guilt. So I signed the contract for the Christmas show, and while I was waiting for Christmas to come, sitting in the house, all by myself, somebody brought a script for a movie called is a hit! But the bank manager, seeing that the client is a , sends the loan officer off and grants the loan with no “formalities.” Murphy, catching on now to the way things are done in the white world, joins in the bank manager’s laughter and, referring to the departed black loan officer, giggles, “What a silly nee-grow! As Flutie is explaining his “Hail Mary” pass, wherein he drops back, closes his eyes, and prays “Hail Mary, full of grace, let this ball fall into the hands of your humble servant, the wide receiver, amen” (Boston College is a Jesuit school), Murphy/Tutu fidgets clumsily with the Heisman Trophy. If this role had been accepted by Sylvester Stallone, an actor not without talent, the result would no doubt have been a straight action movie with vengeance as its driving force.
The fact that, for almost a generation, black satirists attacking American racism have been able to count on the instant sympathy of white audiences all over the country leads one to think that the racist America of liberal doctrine has not existed for many years now, and is, indeed, a piece of liberal mythology. Actually, much of his material is devoted to satirizing, not racism, but liberal stereotypes about racism, and there is no better example of this than the show Murphy gave just before Christmas 1984 when he returned as honored guest-host to the television program of which he is an alumnus, ._____________Murphy’s hallmark is a kind of sassy self-assurance, strangely without malice. ”As the sketch closes, Murphy, black again, asks, “So what did I learn from all this? Finally he breaks off the arm, which draws down the wrath of the talk-show host: “You fix it! With Eddie Murphy in the role it became what is known in the trade as an “action comedy.” But the outline of the plot has remained quite unchanged, and almost no alterations at all were made to accommodate the fact that Murphy is black. In only one scene is there even any mention of race, when with no reservation Murphy bluffs his way into one of Beverly Hills’s top hotels by raising his voice and charging the hotel with discriminating against him because he is a “Negro.” (It is not discriminating, and both he and the audience know this full well.)What the authors of the film have done is simply to ornament the basic story line with a number of occasions where Murphy can display his glib, sunny, comic talents.
If the world of entertainment is any guide, something rather large is happening on the American racial scene.
In recent months three events have occurred, each in a distinct entertainment medium. But in the memory of Americans alive today, there have been at most three super-super-super star singers or groups, of the kind that makes girls faint and drives crowds hysterical.
Eddie Murphy’s audience does not just include whites; it is overwhelmingly white. He is patterning his career on that of Bob Hope—whose cheeky confidence his own style recalls in an eerie way. He is first received by a black loan officer, who points out regretfully that “Mr. ” cries the woebegone Murphy/Tutu in a South African accent. The trail leads Foley, on leave, to Beverly Hills, where the police procedures provide some comic contrast with those of Detroit.
Its employees include Josh's brother-in-law, concierge Charlie, who is expecting a child with Josh's sister; Enrique, a newly hired elevator operator; Lester, the doorman nearing retirement; Odessa, an immigrant maid from Jamaica; and receptionist Miss Iovenko, who is studying to become a lawyer.No black entertainer has ever drawn such huge and feverish mobs (and white mobs) as did Michael Jackson during his “Victory Tour” of the United States in the summer of 1984. It was a “black” series, but with a twist—it was about an upper-middle-class black family (Cosby an obstetrician, his wife a lawyer), which is to say, the comic stereotypes in it had nothing to do with race. yuh, Tutu, if you win anything else, come back, okay?In September of the same year, NBC brought veteran comic Bill Cosby back in a new TV comedy series slotted for 8 P. It was about an American family that just happened to be black. ”_____________But if Murphy’s treatment of Bishop Tutu is disrespectful, the working over he gives a (fictitious) Black Studies professor named Shebaz K. When he fluffs a word, Murphy barks, “So I messed up. ” He then proceeds to tell the story of George Washington Carver, with a few modifications.Nothing in plot or situation depended on being black in a white society. Morton during the program’s “Black History Minute” is merciless. Now, George Washington Carver, needless to say, is a truly sacrosanct American figure.
shot to the top of the ratings list—number one—and now, some five months later, it has never been out of the week’s top ten. As can be seen, Murphy’s material contains a strong strain of veracity. At the opening of the Black History Minute, Murphy appears as Morton, glaring censoriously at the audience. Born a slave, he became one of the country’s first educated black men and made important contributions in the field of agricultural chemistry, teaching soil improvement and diversification of crops and finding hundreds of new uses for the peanut, the soybean, and the sweet potato, thus stimulating substantially the agricultural productivity of the South.
Melanie Brown, aka Scary Spice, and her lawyer Gloria Allred, held a press conference on Wednesday.