Welcome to another edition of Retro Rewind, the TGJ original feature carved out to celebrate TV and Film’s brilliant past.
What we’re highlighting today? ‘Boomerang’, the Eddie Murphy which soared on the wings of Grace Jones, Eartha Kitt, Halle Berry, Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, David Alan Grier and more.
A hilarious comedy, the project was born out of Murphy’s desire to celebrate the diversity of African-American culture and showcase talent shunned by a diversity-shy industry.
The result? A timeless classic which generated over $131 million at the box office.
Watch Murphy discuss criticism of the movie’s decision to be led with an African-American cast.
Hit the 4 minute 30 mark…
White critics panned Boomerang, saying that it was unrealistic in its portrayal of black life on celluloid. Some went so far as calling the film “racist” and a “fantasy,” saying that companies like Lady Eloise didn’t exist. In other words, how dare Hudlin and Murphy create a film where everyone from the mailroom workers to the CEO was black and about that corporate life?
Hudlin knew that black audiences of various socioeconomic statuses would relate to the film.
“[Boomerang is] a film that rings true to people,” Hudlin says. “Anyone who knows Johnson Publishing or Burrell advertising or Motown Records or BET or Radio One—there’s any number of black media businesses where black folks work and live our lives.”