It’s ironic that I stumbled onto this recent Grantland article about Tyrin Turner, considering that, just a
few weeks ago, I watched the Hughes Brothers’ Menace II Society for the first time in many
It’s amazing as well that it’s been over 20 years since that film was made, and that, even today, it is, unfortunately,
still as relevant as ever. Perhaps even more so.
It is a grim experience watching that film and wondering
how many young black men (and women) have ended up dead since that film came
But what about those involved with the film? The Hughes
brothers are still making films. Bill
Duke and Larenz Tate are still
around, and Samuel l. Jackson hasn’t
been exactly lacking for work. Also Jada
Pinkett married very well – to say the least..
But whatever happened to Turner?
Yes, Tate played the most memorable character with all
the most shocking scenes, but it was Turner who starred as the main character, Caine, in Menace.
After the film came out, everyone said he was going to be
a big star and predicted a major acting career for him. Even Roger Ebert told him that he should have
been nominated for an Oscar that year.
But all the big predictions didn’t come to pass.
So what went wrong?
Well, according to the Grantland piece (which you can read
in its entirety HERE), it was a combination of things: Bad luck, bad decisions,
bad timing, typecasting and missed opportunities, for starters.
Along with an misguided attempt to establish a rap
career and a falling out with the Hughes brothers, Turner’s career failed to
take off, and he’s currently trying to
make a comeback at the age of 41.
And yet his story is all-too common in this business. He is
among many who, at one time, had bright, shiny, promising
futures, only to see them dashed to bits.
But can Turner make a comeback? Of course. Anything
is possible, and if there is one thing for certain about this business, it is that
there are no rules.
He’s learned a lot of lessons along the way, but he’s got a lot of ground
to make up.