written by @itsthecaptain
The TV world truly wasn’t ready for a man like Arsenio Hall! Perhaps that was the gift and the curse of it all. Before Arsenio of course you were allowed on Jay Leno or Letterman…but obviously you were an entertainer being interviewed. Although being ridiculed for “being too proper” and having a majority white audience yet also being told by his network his show was “too black” in his height of fame, Arsenio stayed true to himself and his cause and broke a very important barrier for not only television but for black history! Let’s really dig deep into exactly why.
Arsenio came into the industry as an X Factor black entertainer. He wasn’t know for raunchy comedy or “hood certified black jokes”, he was a representation of the talented black man who used his skill and his networking to propel himself to a new height of black entertainment that has still yet to be duplicated.
Arsenio The Ghostbuster – One of the most popular cartoons and movies of the 80’s is Ghostbusters although Arsenio didn’t make the movie he was the voice of “Winston Zeddemore” of the cartoon series. Why is this important? Because Winston was the smartest Ghostbuster. An Ex Marine with a PHD. Most cartoons [black specifically] were to be comedy relief, side shows or irrelevant to the process.
Arsenio Hall Eddie Murphy’s Friend – Although he received a lot of flack for being Eddies Boy or Robin Arsenio Hall’s relationship with Eddie Murphy earned him a very prominent role in what is considered one of the greatest comedy movies of all time “Coming To America”. It gave Arsenio a chance to show his acting skills as well as different characters that himself and Eddie created for the film. He was also in Harlem Nights which was a cult classic along side Murphy, and comedy legends Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx.
Strong vulgar language in the video clip
Arsenio The Night Show Host – Along with the highlights above Arsenio truly paid dues in the world of entertainment and it was finally time for him to shine in a way that many had never seen before. After Taking over “The Late Show” which Fox first Piloted with Joan Rivers, Arsenio’s success in that time got him his “big break” with the aptly titled. “Arsenio Hall Show”. This made Arsenio the first black late night show host but also to this day still the most innovative and successful! From his suits, his Dog Pound to his guest truly Arsenio Hall was a depiction of Black Entertainment that wasn’t seen nor deemed as profitable during its time. His guest included Michael Jordan, Horror Film Star Jason Voorhies, Friends Eddie Murphy and at that time Presidential candidate Bill Clinton. This is also the show that rap star Bow Wow was seen for the very first time on national syndicated television!
Arsenio Hall in very controversial TV moment with “Queer Nation”
Arsenio The Activist – At the height of his career Arsenio Hall felt the need to give back and he did in major ways. Arsenio was an Ambassador for D.A.R.E [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] which was designed to education children and teens on the dangers of drug usage and what to do if you are ever under peer pressure to use or sell drugs. Arsenio also gave an assist to NBA Legend Magic Johnson in an effort to educate the world on the topic of HIV and AIDS through a Film called “Time Out” which was after Magic was diagnosed with the disease. At the time HIV/AIDS was considered a “Gay disease” but it was also rising in alarming rates in the black communities.
Aresnio Hall was truly a man of many entertainment hats. All of those hats have given black entertainment a new look to not only ourselves but to America as a whole. So I salute Arsenio Hall as he worked hard to give us a new black entertainment