With 25 years in entertainment under his belt, Marlon Wayans is still flying high, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be landing anytime soon.
His show “Marlon” on NBC has been picked up for a second season, plus, he scored a deal with Netflix, who released his stand-up special “Wokish” in Febuary and his film “Naked” in August.
The talented 46-year-old recently spoke with Ebony about his successful sitcom and its co-star Essence Atkins, who plays his ex-wife. On the show, they’re both still close with each other and Wayans said it’s crucial for people to see Black love being displayed on the big and small screen. He also said there are other areas of Black life that need to be shown and sees that happening in the near future.
“I think it’s extremely important for us to showcase all that we do,” he said. “Black people, we haven’t been known to get the most opportunity. But what’s beautiful about that is that we’ve been known to create these opportunities, and one day those opportunities are going to come our way. And so it’s good for us to show all the different complexions that we are.”
“You know, they say that we can’t be Black superheroes,” added Wayas. “We never had the budget to do a really good Black superhero movie. But films like ‘Black Panther’ give us a $20 million budget, and we give it a soul. I think to myself Black is still human, we have all the complexities that any other race does, and it’s good that we can now showcase this. It’s good that there’s not just one Black show on TV, there’s my show, ‘Black-ish,’ ‘Power’ and so many more that are going to pop up because we have stories to tell.”
And Netflix is willing to tell some of those stores, said the comedian, since it’s released projects that have people of color in prominent roles, like “Dear White People,” “Narcos,” “Master of None” and “One Day at a Time.”
Plus, according to Wayans, Netflix doesn’t follow Hollywood’s much criticized blueprint of trying to reach merely one demographic. Instead, it tries to reach everyone, so the company won’t shy away from telling Black stories.
“What I love about Netflix is they don’t think Black and White,” he explained. “They think worldwide. They think cross cultures. They’re in 200 million homes, 193 countries. They don’t want something that just resonates one place for an audience. They want something that will translate worldwide. My movie ‘Naked’ was No. 1 in 193 countries.
Later in the conversation, Wayans talked about he and his siblings having to fight for their position in Hollywood and said it’s crucial for minorities to do the same thing. In fact, his co-star Atkins — who he raved about during the interview — said she feels the same way, which could be why she and Wayans have stayed afloat for so long.
“I mean, one of my favorite people right now in terms of just trajectory is Issa [Rae],” said Atkins in a 2017 interview. “You know Issa Rae because there wasn’t, she wasn’t invited to the table and she’s like, ‘Okay, well, that’s cool, I’m not invited so I’m gonna go over here, I’m gonna make my own buffet, I’m gonna create my own meal, I’m gonna invite my own people and they’re going to show up.’”
You can see Atkins and Wayans on screen when “Marlon” returns on June 14 and stream the funny man’s comedy special now.