Bad Boys For Life: Looking Back on the Classic 20 Years Later

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It’s been 20 years since Will Smith and Martin Lawrence teamed up to play detectives Mike Lowry and Marcus Burnett in the Michael Bay film, Bad Boys. An article from The Shadow League breaks down the history behind the film and the impact it’s had 20 years later. The article also provides insight into what was going on in Hollywood in 1995, when the film was made.

Bad Boys was the first Hollywood movie that featured two Black actors in lead roles as police officers. It came at a time when films like Boyz in the Hood and Menace II Society depicted the negative aspects of urban life, and new inspirations were needed. Will Smith was five seasons deep into “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air“, was coming off the movie Six Degrees of Separation, and had released his last Hip-Hop album with DJ Jazzy Jeff. Martin Lawrence was coming off his comedy special You So Crazy and had also done films like Do The Right Thing, House Party, and Boomerang.

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Rather than portraying Black men in stereotypical roles, Bad Boys featured Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as hard-working detectives. Lawrence played a family man, while Smith’s character was single, spending his money on sports cars and custom fitted suits. They clowned each other a lot, but still had each other’s backs at the end of the day. Their chemistry on screen made for so many classic, comedic and action-packed scenes. Not only did Bad Boys see this perfect pairing come to life, but it also gave America a new image for Black men to explore, and opened the doors for Black actors to become successful in Hollywood more diverse roles.

Read the entire Shadow League article here.

Related: DJ Jazzy Jeff Calls Will Smith One Of Rap’s Greatest Storytellers. Do You Agree?