Art & Entertainment, Feature Story

Actress Tetona Jackson Talks BET’s New T.V. Show Boomerang

If you’re a 90’s kid like I am, then you may remember the hit movie Boomerang starring a very dapper Eddie Murphy. The 1992 film also starred Halle Berry, Robin Givens, Martin Lawrence, and David Alan Grier.

In the movie, Eddie Murphy plays Marcus Graham, an advertising executive who is quite the ladies man. His womanizing ways soon catch up with him, though, when he falls for his boss Jacqueline (Robin Givens) who is not interested in a relationship. Marcus pretty much meets his match with Jacqueline and it surprises him. The tables have turned and he ends up seeing dating and relationships from a whole new perspective.

Later in the film, Marcus meets Angela (Halle Berry, and ends up falling for her. Boomerang also highlights the changing culture of women in the workplace and how the 90s woman was crushing sexist stereotypes.

I won’t give too much of the storyline away in case you haven’t seen it yet. I will say this, though: I think it’s a good film to watch in regards to understanding careers, relationships, and sexuality during the 90s.

The power struggle women had to face during the 90s for equality in the workplace is very evident in Boomerang. And the relationship issues depicted in the film, in my opinion, are still a relevant issue in today’s time. Although we do have more work to do, the film will make you feel thankful for the growth and progress we have made in 2019.

Boomerang (1992) starred Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, and Robin Givens

“She’s definitely like her father in a sense that she’s very business-savvy. She knows what she wants and she goes out and gets it. She also has traits from her father, as far as her love life a little bit.”

Actress Tetona Jackson on her Boomerang charcter Simone

BOOMERANG THE T.V SHOW

Two decades later, Boomerang has now been turned into a T.V. show, but it’s not exactly a spin-off as some might think. Instead, the show picks up 25 years later with Marcus and Angela’s daughter Simone (Tetona Jackson) and Jacqueline’s son Bryson (Tequan Richmond).

Yesterday, I caught up with Tetona Jackson to discuss her role in the new T.V. series. The actress told me to help prepare for her role as Simone, she watched the original movie.

“I think I watched it every day for a week,” she said during our phone interview,  “to get ready and learn my parents’ mannerisms and learn how they were to kind of create the backstory for myself.”

On how her character Simone is similar to parents Marcus and Angela, Jackson told me:

“She’s definitely like her father in a sense that she’s very business-savvy. She knows what she wants and she goes out and gets it. She also has traits from her father, as far as her love life a little bit. She’s kind of a little all over the place, but I think she’s just trying to figure her life out. But as far as her mother goes, she’s very loving. she’s cool a little bit and fun to be around”

Actress Tetona Jackson (Photo credit: BET/Boomerang)

LENA WAITHE AND HALLE BERRY, EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

“Boomerang” made it’s debut on BET Tuesday, February 12th. Emmy-winning writer and actress Lena Waithe (Master of None) and Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry are the executive producers of the new show, while Ben Cory Jones (Underground) is the producer.

In an interview with The New York Times (NYT), Waithe told writer Salamishah Tillet she connected with Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry at the GLADD Media Awards. Waithe shared with Berry her idea of turning Boomerang into a T.V. show and she asked Berry if she would be interested in working with her on the project.

Lena Waithe (Photo credit: BET)

Berry told Waithe she’d love to work with her on the new T.V. show. In the NYT article, Waithe said Berry told her, “Don’t try to remake what we did. You can’t do that. That was a miracle. You guys have to create a new miracle.”

I asked Jackson if Eddie Murphy or Halle Berry will make an appearance in the new show. She told me Berry is not in the first season of the show, but Jackson does hope she will make an appearance in a future season.

On what it was like working with Halle Berry and Lena Waithe, Jackson told me:

“They are both amazing! Lena would fly back and forth to Atlanta to be with us. She was very hands-on with the project. She’s just so motivating to be around. Just knowing the amount of project she’s doing, she puts time and effort into every single thing she does. She was always very open and available if we ever needed to talk to her or if we had any questions.

Halle is awesome. I met Halle for the first time at the TCA’s (Television Critic’s Awards). She’s such a light to be around. She’s such an icon and to finally meet her and be part of a project that she is a part of is mind-blowing and I’m so excited and honored to be apart of this.”

“One of the things I love about this show is you will find at least one character that you can resonate with and connect with.”

Actress Tetona Jackson
Cast of “Boomerang”: (L to R) Crystal (Brittany Inge), Tia (Lala Milan), Simone (Tetona Jackson) Photo credit: BET
Cast of “Boomerang”: (L to R) Ari (Leland Martin), David (RJ Walker), Bryson (Tequan Richmond) Photo credit: BET

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HOW BOOMERANG WILL RESONATE WITH MILLENNIALS

Jackson told me she believes “Boomerang” will resonate with millennials describing the romantic comedy as “a modern-day Black Friends.”

“One of the things I love about this show is you will find at least one character that you can resonate with and connect with,” Jackson explained. “Every single character on the show is powerful. And I love the fact that it shows young black millennials in a business setting or it shows that you can be young and black and be a boss.”

Jackson said she also loves that “Boomerang” shows the audience “you can be young and black and be an entrepreneur and a businessman, a businesswoman.” She went on to say she thinks the show depicts the characters “going through life in a very raw and real way.”

“We’re all kind of there for each other and I love that about the show.”

Photo credit: BET

ON ARETHA FRANKLIN’S INSPIRATION

Before interviewing Tetona Jackson, I took a few days to research her biography and work. The actress is also a dancer, professional ice skater, and recording artist. She starred in Maximum Ride, a film based on the bestselling James Patterson literary series. Other films Jackson has been in include Stolen from Subirbia, Dear Diary I Died, and the 2017 horror film Severed Road.

In 2018, Jackson starred as a series regular on Hulu x AwesomenessTV series “All Night”. She played the character Cassie, a young lesbian who is hiding her romantic relationship with another character.

Jackson is the daughter of jazz artist Fred Jackson, Jr. When she was younger, she had the opportunity to travel with her father. During one particular show, Jackson’s father was performing for the late Aretha Franklin. After seeing how the audience reacted to Ms. Franklin’s performance, Jackson said she knew she wanted to be in the entertainment industry.

“Aretha was from Detroit so she is very special to the city,” I said during our interview. “How was she special to you and how was she an inspiration for you?”

“I mean Aretha is a legend so that first and foremost,” Jackson told me. “I think just her voice was beautiful. Listening to her sing, whether it was live or a recording, there was always something special and continues to be something special.

Anytime I listen to Aretha, it touches my heart in a very deep way. She was very emotional, I think. You could hear the emotion she poured into her music. You could feel that any time you listen to her. So I think, even now if I turn on Aretha in the car or laying in bed listening to her on a record player, there’s just something very special about her.”

Tetona Jackson stars in BET’s new T.V. show “Boomerang”! (Photo credit: BET)

“I’m beyond happy and excited. I think it’s definitely time women of color are noticed for the work that they do. People of color, in general, I feel like should be noticed for the work that they do, and that doesn’t just limit it to black people. I feel like if you do good work, you should be recognized and I love that that is starting to happen.”

Actress Tetona Jackson

ON WOMEN OF COLOR BEING RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR WORK IN FILM AND TELEVISION

We’re starting to see more women of color being recognized for their work in film and television. The recent Academy Awards proves this. Three African American women won Oscars on Sunday night. Actress Regina King (Seven Seconds) won Best Supporting Actress for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk, the film adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel.

Hannah Beachler and Ruth E. Carter made history at the 2019 Academy Awards. Beachler became the first African American woman to win an Oscar for production design (Black Panther), and Carter became the first African American woman to win an Oscar for costume design (also for Black Panther).

As we were wrapping up the interview, I asked Jackson, “As an African American actress starring in a leading role what are your thoughts on this?”

“I’m happy,” she told me. “I’m beyond happy and excited. I think it’s definitely time women of color are noticed for the work that they do. People of color, in general, I feel like should be noticed for the work that they do, and that doesn’t just limit it to black people. I feel like if you do good work, you should be recognized and I love that that is starting to happen.”


Catch Boomerang on BET on Tuesdays at 10 P.M. EST! Special thanks to Tetona Jackson for taking the time to interview with Good Life Detroit.

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