The year was 1994. I was 22 years old.
Young. Impressionable. Mean as ever, but this film taught me a valuable lesson. I believed in love.
I was in young love at the time, but I didn’t want my love. Oh no, I wanted the love Jason was showing Lyric.
Jason’s Lyric is a romantic drama, written by Bobby Smith, Jr, and directed by Doug McHenry. These two were notable and equally successful as producers with various films, including the classic, New Jack City.
Jason’s Lyric features actors including Allen Payne (who I was in love with), Jada Pinkett Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Treach, Eddie Griffin, Lahmard Tate, Lisa Nicole Carson, and Forest Whitaker. The story is set in Houston, Texas, and centers around a group of young adults who learn to deal with hurt, love and maturity, in the mist of very trying times.
Jason (Allen Payne my love *smile*) is a stand up guy who could have been a product of his colorful environment, but instead has a straight track mind, and a job in a television repair shop. He lives at home with his loving, hard-working mom (Suzzanne Douglas) whom he adores. His bad, narrow minded brother Joshua (Bokeem Woodbine) is the younger of the two and has just been released from prison, and he and Jason are like night and day. Josh is a volatile, alcoholic who is clearly mental and extremely disturbed. He’s an an ex-con who is destined for nothing short of a violent end. He deals drugs for petty cash and joins a crew plotting a bank robbery.
When Lyric (Jada Pinkett Smith) walks into the shop where Jason works to buy a television, Jason is immediately smitten. She has dreams laced in what seems like fairytale, etched in poetry, mapped out by way of escape. She inspires Jason, and invites him into another world that he didnt know existed. Their relationship suddenly blossoms into love.
Jason has nightmares of his rocky childhood, that is filled with domestic abuse and tradgedy. Forest Whitaker plays his father, Mad Dog. Througout the film we learn that either Jason or Joshua killed Mad Dog while he drunkenly attacked their beloved mother. Lyric forces him in the most gentle , but truthful way to learn to deal with his past, and move on with his life.
“I can’t be hurt by you Jason, but that’s exactly what your gonna do if you keep trying to save a brother that don’t wanna be saved.”
“Sometimes heroes have to walk away. Walk away, Jason… or we can’t be together.”
This comes enlight of the brewing war between Lyrics thug ass brother Alonzo, and the death wish crazy gun toting Joshua.
The plot thickens..
Now look, when I saw this film in the movies, I was with a group of eight, yet it was if I was there alone. Well, me and Jason.
I was so enthralled in it, that it was like I had become Lyric. There is a part near the end when she was shot, and I began to weep. Not cry. Honey, I wept. Loudly.
It took me a while to come down from that moment. Someone sitting in back of me said out loud, “Damn, what you know them.”
That’s when I snapped back to reality. I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t believe I had let my hard, no nonsense self slip in puplic like that. I didn’t even know I had those kinds of feelings. But that was the day that I realized I believed in love.
These were young black folks, just like me. I’ve always loved the magic and enchantment of the fairytale. Because of Jason’s Lyric, baby I knew that true love existed.
Instead of a crowded movie theater with friends, I’m watching with my eighteen year old daughter. Thinking, reflecting, and remembering young love.
I told her the story of the movie theater when I cried out. No… When I wept. And she laughed at me so hard.
I told her, one day you may be so captivated by something, so caught up on the idea of love that it might bite your little prissy behind in the butt too.
Jason’s Lyric. A cult classic in my book.
Do you remember? Please share your thoughts.
Peace and love,