The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.
A veteran actor, Witherspoon’s career included a number of roles in high-profile films, including House Party, Boomerang, Friday, Vampire in Brooklyn, Friday After Next, and Soul Plane. He is also known for his work in television, appearing in dozens of shows, most notably “Wayans Bros.,” “Boondocks” and “Black Jesus.” With a plethora of show-stealing moments and memorable quote-ables to his credit, Witherspoon stands as one of the most beloved and respected thespians of the hip hop generation.
To commemorate his life and career, REVOLT listed seven life lessons we’ve learned from John Witherspoon through his works in television and film.
1. You’ve Got To Coordinate
Mr. Jackson (Witherspoon) gives Marcus Graham (Eddie Murphy) the secret to his flamboyant style in this memorable scene from Boomerang. Pulling out his mushroom shirt with the matching belt, his coordination is on full display for the festivities, as he gives us all a crash course in how to upgrade our fly.
2. Be Accountable For Your Actions
When Pops discovers he could possibly be the father of a woman in “The Wayans Bros.,” he immediately stepped up to the plate to forge a relationship with her. While it is ultimately determined that he was not the dad, Pops’ willingness to take on the responsibility of owning up to his actions was admirable and a testament to his character.
3. Keep Family First
View this post on Instagram
I’m sad. Broken. Hurt.. yet extremely grateful to God that i got to spend 5 years of my life working with one of the funniest sweetest wisest humblest loving man @johnnywitherspoon you were my tv dad and my mentor and my friend. I miss you already. Something don’t feel right. This is heavy on my heart. Anyone that knows me knows how much i love pops. You have a strong wife and great kids. What an amazing family. Your boys damn near grew up on the #WayansBros set they’ll always be like my little brothers and sons. i will pass on all the jewels that you bestowed on to us. Thank you God for the many many many laughs that we shared on and off the set. You got “all the keys “ and i know you got one to heaven’s gate. Anytime i want to laugh or to see you I’m gonna put on a episode of wayans bros and laugh until i cry. I miss already.... hope your dancing in heaven with ugly white shoes on. “Pops pops sugar pops”. #ripjohnwitherspoon #mysecondpops
Pops reminds his sons in “The Wayans Bros.” that in spite of the ups and downs in their relationship, as long as they have one another, nothing else matters. This was shown in many scenes of the hit comedy show and they were touching ones.
4. Always Strive To Keep The Peace
One of Witherspoon’s first standout moments on film came via his appearance in House Party, in which he played a grumpy old man who was awaken by the festivities. This resulted in the law being called, and taught a lesson in how a noise complaint and a disgruntled neighbor can ruin a good time.
5. Parental Support Goes A Long Way
During the first episode of the second season of “The Wayans Bros,” Pops invests into Shawn’s entrepreneurial endeavors by fronting him the money to open his own newsstand. The gesture is a reminder to believe in your children’s goals because it can encourage them to reach their fullest potential.
6. Don’t Allow Your Disabilities To Define You
In Soul Plane, Witherspoon plays a frisky blind man who becomes smitten with an attractive passenger during the flight. In spite of his sight betraying him, his confidence is on tilt, as he puts his best foot forward in displaying his charm albeit aggressively. While he fails to seal the deal, his efforts result in a hilarious moment of self satisfaction and serve as a reminder that you should never shortchange or deny yourself, regardless of your physical limitations.
7. You Live To Fight Another Day
I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon. Life won’t be as funny without him. pic.twitter.com/gtmiZiEppP— Ice Cube (@icecube) October 30, 2019
One of the more poignant moments of Witherspoon’s career was this exchange in Friday, during which he teaches Craig (Ice Cube) the true meaning of bravery and standing your ground. “When I was growing up, this was all the protection we needed,” he says, referring to his fists. “You win some, you lose some, but you live. You live to fight another day.” These words hit home for a number of viewers and continue to resonate with us today.