The youngest of the Wayans family siblings, Marlon Wayans had a front-row seat to his family’s comedy empire in Hollywood and access to some of the greatest comedians of all time that have influenced his career.
He has carved out his own lane starring in some classic comedy films and performing standup, and he has recently opened up about his upbringing and the people who helped him along the way.
Marlon Wayans on being raised by Black Hollywood
Thanks to the success of his brothers Keenan and Damon, Marlon got an education from the greats saying he was raised by Black Hollywood.
“I was raised in Black Hollywood. [You] talk about Black excellence and the Black Pack, I was raised in comedy clubs. Robert Townsend was like a big brother to me, he started the second revolution of Black films, I was hanging out with those guys,” he explained last week on the podcast “Street You Grew Up On” created and hosted by actress Washington (as reported by Atlanta Black Star).
Wayans described his relationship with icon Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, saying, “Eddie Murphy, I was at his house. Eddie Murphy came to my projects, Eddie Murphy was like a big brother to me. Chris Rock was like a big brother to me — all these guys I grew up with. I mean I met Isaac Hayes, and I was on the set of ‘I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.’ I met Whitney Houston. I grew up around this, so it was nothing for me to go do it, I always had the confidence,”
Marlon Wayans previously told a story on Instagram about Eddie Murphy visiting his older brothers in their project home when he was 9 years old, and the star letting himself and his brother Shawn try out jokes on hi, saying in the post:
“He let me and my brother Shawn talk about his cow skin pants (which by the way cost more than everything in our entire apartment …including us)…That was the first day I ever felt famous. Love Eddie Murphy forever alway a big brother, a friend and The GOAT.”
Marlon followed the path laid out before him, becoming a star in his own right, and he credits what his older brothers built, helping him along the way."
“My brother taught us to dream with no ceilings,” he explained. “He said, ‘and don’t put, don’t let them put the Black hat on you. I want you to take that cap off that they try to twist on yo’ head and I want your dreams to go outside yourself, outside this world, outside of any areas that people try and put on you outside your skin color. I want you to dream and dream big. You can play anything from an alien to a superhero to whatever you want, you don’t just have to play a gang member or a slave,’”
Marlon Wayans eventually started doing standup over a decade ago, adding more to his resume and continuing to branch out comedically.
He was recently seen on the big screen with Jennifer Hudson in the Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect.