Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “Jason’s Lyric”

December 17, 2012  |  
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At the core, Jason’s Lyric is a love story, at least three to four times over. There’s the dysfunctional type of love between Joshua and Jason’s parents, that starts all of the drama in the first place. There’s the familial love that keep Jason in Houston for so long, defending, rationalizing and protecting his brother and then there’s the love story between Lyric and Jason, who have to figure out a way to escape their toxic surroundings if they want their relationship to work. You know the movie, you remember that one scene…you know what I’m talking about. You might even have memorized some of the lines but you probably don’t know the behind the scenes secrets. Check them out below.



Rated X

Remember how saucy that love scene was? I just can’t talk about this scene without mentioning the grass that was stuck to Allen Payne’s butt cheeks as he and Jada were rolling around in the hay. Well as graphic as that scene was, there was much more to it. So much that it was going to receive an X rating. The team had to trim down the sex scene and then it was an “R.”


Suzzanne Douglas

You may best know Suzzanne Douglas from that Robert Townsend show, “Parent Hood.” But before that, she was in Jason’s Lyric as the mother, “Gloria.” Though she played the mother to Allen Payne and Bokeem Woodbine, who played the troubled brother “Joshua,” Douglas is actually only 11 years older than Payne.


 Jada didn’t trust the director

Jada was on the cusp of a very active career in the ’90’s, and decided to take on the role of “Lyric.” But just because she agreed to the role, didn’t mean that she was exactly comfortable with how people would perceive her. In 1994, she told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she didn’t know how McHenry was going to manipulate her image.

“I just didn’t trust Doug (McHenry, the director) and the vision of what he wanted to do. He could exploit an image of what people might think of me, but I wasn’t going to allow him to do that to me.”

Jada was so against McHenry that she stated she would prefer not to work with him again.


Body double?

Since Jada was so worried about her image, it was largely reported that she used a body double during, not only the sex scenes, but the Inquirer claims that wasn’t even her kissing Allen Payne. Hmm… I don’t know about all of that. That looked like Jada to me.


Wasn’t disappointed by what she saw on screen though

Though she was initially worried, Jada was happy with the final product. In fact, she even felt that the unedited love scene would have been appropriate. In the same interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pinkett said that the NC-17 rating was assigned because of racism. “There is no secret that there is a double standard when black films are rated.” Even some in the black community took issue with the scene. Pinkett said it has to do with the hangups some people have about sexuality.  “There was no rape, no derogatory imagery, in Jason’s Lyric. Arnold Schwarzenegger can kill 50 people in his movies, and nobody is having a fit about that, but if you try to express a healthy physical love for someone in a movie, that’s a problem.”



Though Jada said that she would prefer not to work with McHenry again, the two would pair up once more when he directed Kingdom Come. Wonder what changed?


Who’s the director?

Judging by McHenry’s Ivy league background, (He graduated from from Stanford with an Economics degree and then went to Harvard to get a law degree.), you might not think he would make a movie like this. After school, he worked in the record industry before jumping into film.


What he thought about the NC-17 rating

Just like Jada, McHenry wasn’t too pleased about the Motion Picture Association of America trying to impose the NC-17 rating on the film. He also thought it was racial. “The violence didn’t bother them. They were uncomfortable (with) sexual intimacy between African-Americans.”


Role Models

Despite the violent and sexual content, in an interview with Luke Ford for his book The Producers: Profiles In Frustration, McHenry still felt the overall message of the film was hopeful and even offered a non-stereotypical picture of love in different facets.
“I’m attempting to put a role model out there,” he says. “He’s not a rapper, a gangster, or an athlete. He’s an everyday guy.”

Source: Imdb,com

Why he decided to do it

In that same interview with Ford, McHenry, who’s directed movies like House Party 2 and Kingdom Come  and produced movies like New Jack City, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate and Two Can Play That Game, said that Jason’s Lyric was the movie he related to the most.
“The movie that’s closest to me is Jason’s Lyric. I decided that I was going to direct something. I read a script that had potential. I saw a lot of my background in it. I said, I have the power to do it. I don’t give a Isht. I’m directing this movie. And I got the money and I did it. It was Romeo and Juliet in the ghetto. It had a lot of different themes in it. The message to me was two things. Sometimes to be a hero, you have to walk away. The hero doesn’t always kick the bad guy’s A$$. Sometimes you have to destroy the person, and sometimes you walk away. And if you truly love someone unconditionally, you have to let that person go. Because that person’s destiny may not be intertwined with yours.”

How he responded to the criticism of the film

In something of a Spike Lee response, McHenry talked about how the critics received Jason’s Lyric. He claimed that some didn’t understand it and some just weren’t paying attention at all because the film featured an all black cast.

“There are two communities. Reviewers don’t understand black movies. They don’t understand the vernacular and they don’t understand the situation the actors are portraying… I don’t know how anybody could not like the movie.”Take Kingdom Come [2001] with Whoopi Goldberg and Loretta Divine. Do you think the Academy Awards people will pay any attention to these fine performances? If my name was Woody Allen, and I didn’t have to raise a dime, and could make anything I want because he’s got a tribe of people that support his A$$, I would get Academy award nominations. “African-Americans are a minority in this industry. Being black has no biological significance at all. We’re not a different species. Racism is in the interest of the majority or we wouldn’t have it.


Whatever happened to Lisa Nicole Carson?

Remember Lyric’s hood, yet super sensitive and romantic friend, “Marti”? When Lyric told her about Jason washing her feet, Marti, who was dating Lyric’s brother, “Alonzo,” said “I would love for a ni**a to wash these feet!” Between her romantic nature and those absolutely outrageous hair styles, Marti was a supporting character we couldn’t forget. Then shortly after, Lisa Nicole Carson, went on to play the best friend to Nia Long in Love Jones. After that Carson kind of disappeared.

A few years ago, BET caught up with Carson to see what she’d been up to. This is what she had to say.

“Well I did take a break from acting although I have been seeing everything on Broadway and most of the stuff on off Broadway. And I’ve been reading scripts from time to time and keeping my acting chops as fluid as I can possibly keep them, but mostly I’ve been working on my singing and my songwriting. I write songs so it’s something that I want to get out there and share with the world and let them see that part of me that’s deeply personal but extremely valid. Let’s hope. You know this business is crazy but I’m going to give it all I got.”


Lisa Nicole Carson didn’t have a problem with director

While Jada was hesitant about how her image would be used in her sex scene, Lisa Nicole Carson, who also had a sex scene, though she got to keep her clothes on,  felt very comfortable with McHenry and all of the directors she’s worked with thus far. She told BET:
I definitely have a very soft spot for those films that I did. I have to give all props to the directors – in “Eve’s Bayou,” Kasi Lemmons and in “Love Jones,” Ted Witcher – and even Carl Franklin (“Devil In A Blue Dress”) and Doug McHenry and George Jackson (“Jason’s Lyric”). I think they all had passion, they had talent, and I think everything just came together for them. They knew what they wanted, they knew how to cast, they knew how to write in certain circumstances and it was just a beautiful time for Black cinema.


Ebert dug it

While McHenry said some critics didn’t get the film or blamed racism for it being rated harshly, Roger Ebert, appreciated the film. He praised both Allen Payne for being the good guy without being a “goodie two shoes” caricature and Bokeem Woodbine, “Joshua,”  who was responsible for much of the conflict in the movie.
The performances are strong, and particularly so because Jason, the “good brother,” is not portrayed as the sort of wimp that this genre usually calls for. Just because he is responsible and hard-working and wears a “dumb uniform” on the job doesn’t make him soft; we gradually realize that he’s harder than his ex-con brother. It’s invigorating, how much confidence it has, and how much space it allows itself.

Do you agree? Was this a good movie in your opinion?


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  • SM

    Oh yeah…the other great thing about this movie was You Will Know by Black Men United!

  • SM

    Bokeem’s character aggravates the heck out of me in this movie. He is so toxic. I think I would love this movie 100 times more if it weren’t for his character. I literally can’t stand him.

  • SM

    They did a great job casting Allen and Bokeem as kids. Those boys looked JUST like them!

  • SM

    Allen is so dang fine and Jada is beautiful. I love this movie. Btw, Marti said, “I’d die a nigg@ wash these feet.” Not love. Lol

  • This was the first R-rated film I saw as a kid, and I found it wildly romantic at the time, lol. Haven’t watched it in years…this brought back memories.

  • Pat

    Yes. It was a good movie.

  • pwest

    The Houston crowds laughed at he sorry accents. Jada was doing a Georgia accent and Payne was doing Stepin Fetchit! Aside from that the movie was OK in my book.

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  • micki319

    To this day, this is still one of my favorite movies. The only thing that truly disturbed me were the accents that most of the actors tried to affect. I grew up in Third Ward, not 10 minutes away from where most of the film was shot and in 42 years I have yet to hear people sound like that.

  • Andre

    Jason’s Lyric was a very good movie. Jada had such a natural beauty back than, that I don’t need no make up kind of beauty just plain pretty. Allen Payne and Bokeem were very good in this movie. The message was great.

  • MittMoney

    I don’t see anything cosmetic about Jada’s face. Sorry.

  • MittMoney

    I should also add that “Jason Lyrics” was filmed in my neighborhood in Houston, Texas where I attended college. In addition, the soundtrack song “Many Rivers to Cross” was written by my favorite Jamaican musician by name of Jimmy Cliff. However, Yolanda Adams did a good performance of that song. And, oh, Yolanda and I attended the same college. She graduated in 1994 and began her career in gospel music. Aside from the violence that is unappealing, Jason Lyrics had a good story line

  • Edgar Poe

    I thought this was an excellent movie, as described in the comments above. I really don’t think it gets enough credit among the better African-American films and the lead actor and actress. Allen Payne did a great job in this and New Jack City and Jada is a very versatile actress. The story was great because we had imperfect characters trying to do the best they could. I hope it gets its proper due in the coming years.

  • D

    Funny thing about Jada not trusting Doug because I worked on Jason’s Lyric and Jada was never the 1st choice for the role. Doug McHenry and the late George Jackson had previously given the role of Lyric to a young unknown actress from New York. But once rehearsals started they realized she couldn’t act. We started production and for the first week we didn’t shoot any scenes that called for Lyric. They scrambles around, even thought about asking Lisa Bonnet and finally came to an agreement to cast Jada.

  • kb

    tbh Ebert and Siskel and had a valid criticism of colorism, in the film I didnt notice , until my friends told me and then Siskel and Ebert affirm it. The good people are light-skinned and bad people are dark- skinned

  • Finally!

    Someone with some sense.

  • Mickey

    Lisa Nicole Carson was in ER from 96-2001. She was also in Ally McBeal between 1997 and 2002. I guess those roles don’t count cause it wasn’t black shows.

  • D

    How come you didn’t mention that Lisa Nicole Carson was on the hit show “Alley MacBeal” during it’s five year run? Come on MadameNoire, you folks need to do much better in the research department.

  • Nsquared72

    Lisa Nicole Carson didn’t just fall off guys…remember Ally McBeal?

  • The section on Lisa Nicole Carson left out a lot. She went on the co-star for several years on ALLY MCBEAL as Ally’s bestfriend. Miss Carson reportedly suffered from some issues with bipolar disorder that sidelined her career for a time. All of this was reported in mainstream media.

  • I heard she (Lisa Nicole) was battling schizophrenia. Best of luck to her if that is valid.

  • customcalendars4u2

    Lol…. That coin phrase had me cracking up to I bet Allen couldn’t even get through the scene on the first take with that pitiful accent coming from his mouth,but they all sucked with the southern drawl except Bokeem. Funny man Eddie in that movie was Hilarius!

  • Arasia

    This article is ridiculous. Copy and paste much?

  • MImi

    Lisa Carson was also on Ally McBeal from 1997 – 2002

  • JT

    I was a tad disappointed with the list; I was expecting more information about the actual movie but it was mostly stuff about the director and the racism surrounding the movie’s rating.

  • lateshia

    Jason Lyric is one of my favorite movies. The sex scenes have to be the most talked about every time someone mentions this movie. I think the film was very romantic and I was about 13 when I first saw this movie on Showtime back in the 90’s and thought to myself I want a man like Jason one day. I have to agree with the comments below Lisa Nicole has done a lot more movies and she did do the TV show Ally McBeal.

  • LAFunnygirl

    This was a slice of Black Cinema, but it fell short on finishing the storyline…Some films are just good when you want them to be really great, and this was one of those…Malcolm X was a great film(for example). And that southern dialogue was a little cray-cray…they all had their teeth why couldn’t they talk like they also had some sense in their heads? But George Jackson and Doug McHenry were a great team, always enjoyed their films..RIP George

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Southern accents which disappeared throughout the film.

  • I think Lisa Carson was also in Eve’s Bayou as Samuel Jackson’s mistress….she did a good job in that too.

    • Wendy

      Lisa Nicole has done numerous things she also had a significant role on the show Ally McBeal for a number of years

  • Eddie Griffins ‘ hair tho…..

  • S Whiteman

    Lisa Nicole did not disappear after Love Jones. This is sloppy reporting.

    • Wendy

      I completely agree

  • marquis2sade

    Oh wow!! THIS MOVIE…THIS MOVIE RIGHT HERE gave me a HARD ON EEEEEVERYTIME i watched it…Love the storyline, love the acting, loooooooove even MOOOOORE Allen Paynes A$$….YES I AM GAY, just in case…

  • MM82

    A cast of great actors but who helped them with their Southern lingo. I remember as a young girl wondering do people think we really talk like that.

    • DILLIGAF98

      People almost never get accents right. They tried. LOL

  • Vandellish

    Although I thought there was good casting and acting in this flick I simply couldn’t get into it. The Lyric character had a sh!tty attitude and seemed to act waaaay too entitled and she came across extremely dull. It was hard to believe that Jason would really be that into a woman like that. Even in a small town like that a man has a few options.

    I’m hope we’re done with the 90s trend in black movies where someone has to die at the end. Real black life isn’t always so extreme.
    Nice list though.

    • getyourfactsstraight

      rotfl at the city of houston being “a small town like that”

      • princessthunderkitty

        4th largest city in the United States

      • Vandellish

        Sorry…it’s been a while since I saw the film and I just imagined them being in a small town. I emphasize my point more though…dude had more options in a big city than settling for a bad attitude meanie like Lyric.

        • Mz TMarie

          But the movie was primarily shot in and around 3rd Ward, one of the traditional Black areas here. Houston IS like a small town. Many people stick to their section of the city and rarely go outside of their area, particularly in established neighborhoods like 3rd Ward or Acres Homes, where people have lived for years. Plus, down here public transportation SUCKS and it takes at least 30 minutes to get anywhere, so if it’s not something special, you stay close to home.

  • Ladie

    By the way, Stanford isn’t an Ivy League university.

  • Baddvixentype

    page 12: you can drop the F Bomb but you cant say Ish and B!tch??? where they do that at @Veronica Wells

  • Eboneetigress

    This movie certainly made an impact on black film during the ’90s. I feel it was needed – it didnt portray ‘hood life’ which is what Hollywood only seems to appreciate. I often refer to Denzel Washington being snubbed for his role of Malcolm X, but winning for Training Day. Of course, had Denzel won the Oscar for Malcolm X, then Hollywood gives a nod to Spike Lee — and we cant have that! As for what movie critic Ebert giving Jason’s Lyric a positive review – you have to remember, Ebert is married to a black woman.

    • bigdawgman

      Well that explains a lot. I thought he was just scared of black folks. Thanks!

  • Jorgalane

    I always laugh at how obvious the body double is..

  • Ladybug94

    FYI Robert Townsends’ show was called Parent ‘Hood not Parent Trap.

  • Manifesto

    “Judging by McHenry’s Ivy league background, (He graduated from from Stanford with an Economics degree and then went to Harvard to get a law degree.) From there he worked in the record industry before jumping into film.”Does anyone ever bother to copy edit anything on this site? Ever? It’s so laughably bad it’s actually distracting. Do BETTER.

    • vwells1

      I apologize for the typo but there’s a polite way to do things and then there’s the way you went about it… sad.

      • zee

        The purpose of the moderator is to moderate. Stop taking things so personal. Appreciate the people that actually visit your site, click through the slides, and correct you when you’re wrong. The only thing “sad” is that you seem to have the time to hit the reply button but not the time to double-check and triple-check your content before it is posted. This is coming from a working journalist. It’s not about making snarky comments once your errors have been made known to you, it is about doing your job. So yes, DO BETTER and act like a professional.

        • MLS2698

          Oooh, you said ” working ” journalist……….ouch!

        • Jerzee Gurl


        • Lawgirl713

          Zee, I apologize for running late to the funeral you just gave vwells1’s statement. I see that this was not an actual burial, but a cremation ceremony. *holds 1 finger up and slowly walks back out the the church door*. I will, however, sign the funeral book to show my respect – LawGirl713 and Family 12/18/2012

          • Manifesto

            They really, really need to do better.

        • Jaye

          There are many, MANY blogs out there. If you’re so distraught over a simple error, typo…why not go to the other blogs. Chastising the editors makes you feel superior or something? I don’t get it. It’s really not that serious. And there is a difference between constructive criticism and blatant disrespect…but I guess it’s okay when you can hide behind a computer screen or phone. Just ridiculous you all even see what you’re nitpicking about…SERIOUSLY.

  • Jaeda

    I love this movie and the love screen when they were rolling around in the grass made me laugh cause of the grass and his hairy butt cheeks anyway Lisa Nicole Carson did do more than just Love Jones she was also on Ally McBeal

    • Ladybug94

      And she was in Devil in a Blue Dress alongside Denzel.

    • She was in Life also..

    • MLS2698

      I just want to know how Lisa Carson got her baby hair like that. A toothbrush?

      • Bahahaha…baby hair

      • MImi

        LOL…..some good clear gel (none of that cheap black gel. y’all know what I’m talking about… LOL), a toothbrush and a fine tooth come to add some swirls. Works every time.

      • Stacy D. Smith

        And a little gel.

    • sammi

      I remember I was 9 when this movie came out, my brothers were watching it on VHS and they made me close my eyes when the sex scene happened but I peeked just in time to see all those leaves stuck to Allen Paynes a$$ lol.

  • bigdede

    Jada was so pretty before those unnecessary cheek implants


      I understand where you come from love, but ole girl doesnt have cheek implants, she’s just aged. SHe is just loosing collagen in her skin and her bone structure is becoming more pronounced/noticeable(no baby fat of her youth softtening her sleek features).
      Im not sure if you’ve(or anyone whos mentioned this before) ever watched a woman waste away with age, but the bones of the face and skin give a look that contrasts to that of their youth. features become enhanced, skin creases deepen, and eventually the skin begin to sag. We dont see much aging in hollywood, but we still have our elders for reference.

      • lovely

        Thank you for saying this, I am tired of hearing this misinformation all over the internet. People hear one thing and run with it and start stating as though it were truth. I never thought she had cheek implants.

        • Mika

          Another reason why she looks like she had cheek implants is because she is now exceptionally skinnier. When she was younger she was naturally slim, and it fit her petite frame. Now you can tell she makes a conscious decision to be Hollywood thin, and it makes all of her bones protrude.

  • The show is call the Parent HOOD

    • vwells1

      My badness. It’s been fixed. Thanks