By Brenda Alexander

There isn’t an episode of Martin that I don’t find hilarious. The show has classic episodes and one-liners: from Pam’s buckshots to Tommy’s lack of employment, Martin was the classic fool.

Aside from the comedy, Martin and Gina’s relationship made the show great. They were the original #RelationshipGoals for the young 20 somethings of the 90s. From the beginning, their on-screen chemistry was lit and remains unmatched since its time. You couldn’t tell me Martin and Gina weren’t a real thing. But if you wonder why such a successful show ended seemingly before its time, that may just be the reason why. According to Tisha Campbell-Martin, Lawrence took their on-screen love affair and tried to have life imitate art.

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Long before the “Me Too” movement’s breaking news articles of Hollywood Executives and Music Moguls being accused of chasing their subordinates around office chambers and cornering them in trailers on set, at the height of Martin’s success, Campbell-Martin filed a sexual harassment complaint against Martin, HBO (the parent company of the FOX Network at the time) and the show producers (Lawrence was also an EP), claiming that Martin was an intimidating predator who caused an uncomfortable work environment.


Image result for martin gina you so crazy gif
JET Magazine profiled the lawsuit in their January 1997 issue. Campbell-Martin alleged the conditions she worked under were “intolerable” and that she “was subjected to repeated and escalating sexual harassment, sexual battery, verbal abuse and related threats to her physical safety” by Lawrence. She claimed that since the show’s first season, Lawrence asked her out on dates and she declined. As seasons progressed, she alleged that Lawrence’s behavior worsened with tantrums, outbursts and threats when he didn’t get his way on set. She even went as far as requesting that writers stop incorporating scenes featuring she and Lawrence in bed together, saying that Lawrence took their love scenes too far with excessive groping and using tongue while kissing against her wishes. Lawrence denied the allegations and accused Campbell-Martin of using him as a pawn for her contract negotiations.

In November of 1996, the talented costar left the show and its 6.7 million viewers, leaving the producers to find creative ways to film without her. Her absence called for episodes that were interesting, to say the least. There was the episode where Martin and Gina planned to go on a cruise but Gina misses the boat, leaving Martin with a crazed vacationer played by Lynn Whitfield, a promotional ploy on his movie A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. They even tried to highlight the supporting characters Pam, Tommy and Cole with episodes focused on them. The damage was done. Without Martin and Gina, the show’s ratings dipped and was subsequently canceled in its 5th season. Even in the final episode, Campbell-Martin refused to film with Lawrence. The two-part finale featured no scenes with either of them together, despite both appearing in the episode.

There was little backlash against Martin compared to what we see with the likes of Bill Cosby and others who have suffered tremendous career blows. Martin continued with box office successes post the Martin era with Bad Boys II, Life and the Big Momma’s House franchise. There has been minimal interaction between Martin and Tisha since, at least publicly. Co-stars have even alluded to there still being tension and tip-toeing around definitive answers. In interviews with the cast, the lawsuit was never mentioned and reunions were shot down. Maybe that’s the brilliant work of publicists or a gag order was in place, it’s hard to tell. The only cast member who touched on the ordeal at all is Tichina Arnold. In a 2012 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, she said,
“The lawsuit was a very interesting thing to be a part of. Tisha and I have been friends since childhood, and Martin and I are still friends. There’s a point where you have to be professional and a point where you have to be personal, and I was very well aware of separating the two, and Tisha always respected that. It was very weird, but I handled it as best I could.”
Fast forward to February 2018 and black twitter’s prayers were finally answered with a simple picture:


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Tichina Arnold, Martin Lawrence & Tisha Campbell-Martin

I am just as excited as everyone else, but I have questions:

· What about the lawsuit and allegations?

· What come to Jesus moment took place in this meeting that warranted kisses on cheeks?

I consider myself a woman of faith and believe in the power of forgives. But ma’am, if I suffered anything close to what Campbell-Martin claims, I doubt I would fix my lips to kiss that said man on the cheek. Is this a happy ending for the fans? Hell yeah! Give me a two-hour special, some appetizers and cocktails and I’m content; but, I am slightly concerned for what this says for this current rise of women speaking out against abuse in the workplace. I’m eager to see how or if this will affect the promotion of the reboot. Especially, since the demise of the show has been attributed to the abuse allegations.

Is this a happy ending or what? Chime in!
Brenda is a Philadelphia native with a love for Marketing, Creative writing, wine and Jesus. Her work has been featured on Mayvenn’s Real Beautiful blog and she is the co-author of the book Christmas 364: Be Merry and Bright Beyond Christmas Night (available for purchase on amazon). Follow her on IG @trulybrenda_ and trulybrenda.wordpress.com

By Ta-ning Connai

Hellllloooooo Everybody!
Wow, I feel like when a singer steps out onto the stage for the first time, looks out over the crowd and says to themselves, "MAMA I MADE IT!" Yeah, I'm a drama queen, but darn it, that's exactly how I feel! No I don't sing, and thank God you'll never have to hear me try. And even though I've done A LOT of different things (I'm like a cat with 9 lives!), I always wanted my own column with an awesome online magazine! Ooooooh Weeee, welcome to TA-NING'S TELL IT TUESDAY!

Um, I think I heard someone say, "Who the heck are you and what do you have to say?!"

My name is Ta-ning Connai and basically I'm a self-proclaimed "bridge" between the secular world and the church and I do my best to bring understanding and relatability between the two. The gap is way too big and it's causing people to fall, be hurt and get lost. I'm soooooo through with all that, aren't you?!

Now here's what you can expect...A mix of spiritual grit and humorous wit, while I take on topics like the pressure behind beauty trends, getting cheated on, haters, sexual harassment and more. Sometimes I rant and rave and throw my hands in the air, but it won't be as fun unless you do it with me. So come on, read along, and let's do this!

And speaking of sexual harassment, today's article is about how some women have it worse than others. So, whether you're a woman who says #metoo or a man simply trying to understand...there's more to the story, and I'm gonna be the one to tell it...
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It took the lewd indiscretions of a famous Hollywood producer to spark mass media outrage about something that's been happening to the average woman by not-so-famous men for years. And while I thank the brave, innocent women that provoked so many (myself included) to band together through what I call the "virtual support group" #metoo, I can't help but think about the women whose shame and guilt from bad choices cause them to remain silent and in the dark.

Strippers, video vixens, pornstars. Groupies, goldiggers, prostitutes. Reports show that these women are sexually harassed, verbally abused and raped in rising numbers, and there's nothing they can do about it. Their cry is just a whisper and tells of "fun times" gone wrong and propositions that seemed way too good to pass on. But adage like, "Oh well you asked for it" and "You made your bed now lie in it" serve as the escape clause that allows perpetrators to go scott free and rape culture to remain alive and well. When we imagine the victims of sexual crimes, their faces are not the ones we see. But where's our compassion and outrage for them? What about #themtoo? Just because a person doesn’t have enough self love to pump the brakes on their own self destruction, doesn't mean abuse is alright. It's not ok, it's not ok, NO it's not ok.

The Bible has very choice words about The Seductress and the fiery warning for men to stay away rings loud like a smoke alarm (Proverbs 5:3-22). But there are also plenty of stories in which Jesus used a different frame of reference when forced to judge their situation. Jesus recognized the culture they faced back then (and He recognizes the culture women face today). He took into consideration everything that went into their decision making, including the voices that persuaded them to do so. He knew they were in the wrong place, but He knew they didn't get there on their own. So in essence, He blamed the men, forgave the women and challenged society to rid itself of the discriminating mindset that breeded ill treatment of God's most beloved creation. Jesus is still challenging us TODAY.

We have to start doing our part to make sure women feel better about themselves. No one's worth should be limited to their looks and their sex appeal. If we help women to find out who they are, in spite of what the ads, videos and song lyrics have to say, more women will be less apted to resort to low levels of acknowledgement just to feel like they belong. And they don't deserve to be VIOLATED! They shouldn't have to sleep with the club's best client just because it's their night to dance. A call girl doesn't deserve to be RAPED just because she put her own body up for sale.

Studies indicate that women who's earliest sexual experiences have been tainted with degradation of any kind, are more likely to become promiscuous, have some distorted view of sex and relationships, or engage in high risk sexual activities causing them the possibility of further violations.

We don't know the level of brokenness that gets such women where they are. But one thing we ought to know for sure. If we all got what we deserved, the planet would be HUMAN-FREE, we'd all be DEAD! The Bible says that "we are all like an unclean thing; all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags..." and that "...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23).

We are no better and they are no worse. So, don't let me be the only one, come on and say it with me... #themtoo #themtoo #themtoo.

Do you feel we pick and choose who gets to be a part of #metoo?
TA-NING is a former model (Essence, Vogue) and clothing designer (Neiman-Marcus, Saks) who one day got the "call" to leave the fab world of fashion behind. While in Bible College, she discovered her knack for mixing her quirky style of writing with her gift to teach. She taught in ministry for several years, but always felt the tug to "go beyond"... TA-NING'S TELL IT TUESDAY is a weekly column (originally launched on Facebook) that uses doses of pop culture to tear down the walls of churchy tradition, change the face of Christianity, and present it's message in a lively way. Ta-ning resides in Santa Monica (by way of Brooklyn), is obsessed with dogs, and is an old school Hip-Hop junkie!

Anita Hill
By Veronica Wells

These past few months have been consumed with talk of sexual harassment. For the rest of his life, at least in the public space, Harvey Weinstein will be this generation's poster child for sexual assault and harassment. Even though he was far from the first or last man to use his power to intimidate women, he's the one who opened up the floor for everyone else to be exposed. And since his downfall, we've seen men like Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Louis C.K., Russell Simmons (and I'm sure more to come) meet similar fates.

Most women, the group who have been the most affected and impacted by sexual assault, from the beginning of humanity, recognize that this reckoning is long overdue. Finally, the nation is having very real and uncomfortable conversations. And while I think that a majority of people understand the necessary ramifications behind sexual assault and harassment: firings, oustings, loss in income, being exposed, etc.; I've learned that not everyone gets it.

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Actress Reagan Preston-Gomez and her mom Cheryl Gomez 

By Mwabi Kaira
Listening to Queen Sugar actress Reagan Preston-Gomez’s podcast Reaganomics last week, featuring her mother Cheryl Gomez, I could not believe that her sexual harassment story that happened back in 1982 sounded exactly like the many sexual harassment accounts by women today.  Thirty five years have gone by, and here we are still experiencing the abuse of power by men who believe that taking advantage of women sexually is part of their job description and women should simply accept it as the way it is.

Reagan Preston-Gomez is host of the podcast Reaganomics

Reagan Preston-Gomez's mother Cheryl applied to the Detroit Metropolitan Police Academy in 1974 and got accepted in 1977. Although the course was both physically and mentally draining, Cheryl loved it and graduated twelfth in her class of 120 students. However, not everyone was excited about female police officers and a white male police officer greeted the new female officers with “Go back where you came from” to which Cheryl responded with “We’re here to stay.”

Trouble really began after Cheryl got married to then medical student Bennett Preston. The shift was immediate; officers suggested that she did not need to work since she was married to a doctor and was taking up a position that belonged to a man. She fended off racial slurs, verbal abuse, and even death threats by people she considered to be her colleagues. When she brought her concerns to her commanding officer he not only dismissed them but expressed a sexual interest in her. This commanding officer, a black man, was being groomed by the Mayor to be the next Chief of Police!

On the podcast Cheryl describes being invited to play racquetball with the department by the commanding officer. When she got there, she was surprised to find that she was the only one there. She immediately felt uncomfortable, considering his previous advances, but she stayed to play a game of racquetball so she wouldn’t be penalized for not participating. After the game, she tried to leave and he blocked the door and again made more sexual advances that she refused. Because of her refusal, the commanding officer told Cheryl that “since he couldn’t eff her he would eff her one way or another.”

Reagan with her parents 

Cheryl finally decided to fight back when her health became affected from not only the sexual harassment from the commanding officer but also from being verbally harassed and bullied by the entire Detroit police department after being directed to do so by the commanding officer. No one would help her inside or outside work (including her husband’s affluent family) because she was going up against the machine. As a result, her marriage began to suffer, and her husband and family kept telling her to quit. Cheryl, on the other hand, had worked so hard to become a police officer that there was no way she was going to walk away from it without a fight.

Cheryl had a historic win in 1987, when Mack Douglas, the commanding officer was found guilty and received a civil conviction. Unfortunately, this did not stop him from continuing to be the Detroit Police commander. Cheryl went on to found the Association for the Sexually Harassed (ASH) and authored a book, When No Means No. And although Cheryl won her case, much damage was done during that time: her marriage fell apart, she became depressed, tried to take her life and became an alcoholic.

However, her strength was evident on the podcast. It was beautiful to hear a mother and daughter discuss something so devastating yet important in this way. Cheryl is now a recovering alcoholic. Reagan alluded to possibly making her mother’s story into a movie or documentary.

Because of charges being brought against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, and most recently director Brett Ratner, sexual harassment is a subject being discussed again. Women are coming forward with their stories using the #MeToo hashtag. Instead of judging these women, let’s embrace our sister-friends and educate our sons on not taking advantage of women in any capacity.

Have you ever been the victim of sexual harassment at work? #metoo

Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her athttp://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/