With Three Simple Words, Thomas Jefferson Byrd Etched a Memory

By | October 7, 2020
With Three Simple Words, Thomas Jefferson Byrd Etched a Memory

With Three Easy Phrases, Thomas Jefferson Byrd Etched a Reminiscence

There’s a scene in Spike Lee’s “Get on the Bus” that has at all times caught with me.

The 1996 movie (accessible on Netflix) is a couple of group of Black males who take a cross-country journey to the Million Man March. Amongst them are a biracial police officer and a former gangbanger turned Muslim. However the pair I at all times bear in mind are Evan Sr. and Evan Jr. and their strained relationship.

Evan Sr. was not very concerned in Junior’s life and Junior resents this. Attempting to reconnect together with his son, Evan Sr. thinks that the expertise of touring to and taking part within the march will deliver them nearer collectively. There’s a catch, nonetheless. Junior dedicated a petty crime, and father and son are actually chained collectively as a result of the latter is on probation.

De’Aundre Bonds captures a younger man who’s indignant together with his father and likewise desperate to seize his consideration. However because the mum or dad, it’s Thomas Jefferson Byrd who by no means left me. He embodies quiet power touched with a little bit of fear as a result of he understands that whereas attempting to be a great man now, he has failed his son by not being in his life.

Close to the top of the movie, after Evan Sr. has eliminated the shackles from his son, a fistfight breaks out between two males, who’ve been squabbling on the bus for days. Within the confusion, Evan Jr. escapes. Senior finds him within the woods and a heartfelt dialog ensues. “I’m your father,” Evan Sr. tells him. “And you’re my son. I really like you.” After a pause, he says the phrases that made the scene so unforgettable to me — even 24 years later. “And you’re wished.”

Perhaps it was the truth that I used to be a son of a single mom whose father was not very concerned in my life. Perhaps it was the way in which the actor who spoke these phrases delivered them with breathless, earnest emotion. However I’ve not been in a position to shake it and nonetheless give it some thought to today. The way it devastated me at 15 and the way it introduced me to silent tears that I needed to cover from my mates within the theater.

For a second time in my life Byrd has introduced me to tears, however this time it was not his position in a movie.

A charismatic presence, Byrd was unforgettable each time he was on the display screen. It didn’t matter if the movie was nice, like “He Acquired Recreation” or “Get on the Bus,” or subpar, like “Brooklyn’s Best” or “Trois.” With Byrd, you bought the identical high-energy work. So memorable was his small position as Honeycutt, a blackface M.C., in Spike Lee’s underappreciated satire “Bamboozled” (2000) that my mates and I spent the yr after highschool telling one another, and attempting our greatest to embody, a fact Honeycutt delivered that resonated deeply with us. In additional graphic phrases, he made it clear that being Black, even for those who’re from the hood, is a ravishing factor.

There are specific performers, usually character actors or actresses, that I hold an eye fixed out for. In the event that they’re in a movie, I’ll test it out simply because they’re in it. Louis Gossett Jr. is one. Regina Corridor is one other. After seeing him in “Get on the Bus” in 1996, Thomas Jefferson Byrd was on the prime of that listing.

His work was as memorable as his expertise was plain. He can be missed.

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