In 1991, after the success of his self-funded project, Hollywood Shuffle Keenan Ivory Wayans and Robert Townsend decided to take on a studio film, a first for Townsend. The collaboration didn’t do so well in theaters but over 20 years later, it’s a favorite in the black community. You know the lines and the songs. Check out these behind the scenes secrets.
Where did the story come from?
Though the story was based on several R&B groups and solo artists, including The Temptations, The Dells, Frankie Lymon and Sam Cooke, Robert Townsend told Black Voices that the breakup of The Temptations when he was a child, inspired the story. “I grew up with a lot of the singing groups from the ’60s, such as The Temptations, The Dells and The O’Jays. I always loved music. When The Temptations broke up, I took it personally. [The Five Heartbeats] came out of that.”