The news hit me unexpectedly. Tommy Ford, better known as Tommy Strawn from Martin passed away. 2016 has taken so many of my pop culture favorites away. From Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka) to Bill Nunn (Radio Raheem), Natalie Cole to The Purple One Himself. Tommy is no different…
Martin aired in 1992. Post Do the Right Thing, House Party 1 and 2, and Boomerang, Martin Lawrence was quickly becoming one of my favorites. (Technically I wasn’t allowed to watch these movies, but that’s neither here nor there). For me in particular, I became a big sister that year. With that came responsibility and clearly I was ready for a sitcom that I could relate to.
Enter Martin, Gina, Tommy, Cole and PAM. A group of friends in their late twenties, living in Detroit, navigating through life. Six young Black professionals (representation was in full effect int he 90’s) hanging out and getting into trouble together. The show was hilarious! I was instantly hooked. Although I was six at the time, I am still an avid Martin watcher and the episodes still resonate To this day, I can recite lines from Martin effortlessly. I can tell you which episodes is about to come on within the first few seconds.
While most people credit the success of the show to Martin Lawrence (they wouldn’t be wrong), there’s something iconic about a show where everyone plays their part so well, you can’t pick a favorite. Tommy was loyal, always had Martin and Cole’s back, lusted after Pam, and stayed fly (and unemployed). He talked Martin out of some bad decisions and helped him make a few. When I think of Tommy, I always think of the two episodes where Martin and Tommy get into a fight over a borrowed suitcase. ( I don’t even remember who it belonged to first. It was always clear the Tommy and Martin were closer than Cole and Martin, but their fight ended with them deciding not to be friends anymore. After Tommy gets into a car accident, the group remembers just how much they love Tommy and want him and Martin to peace it up.
This is turning into a ramble and I’m not sure how to end it, but Tommy was an integral part of Martin. He along with the rest of the cast will go down in history. Rest peacefully Tommy. You’re job is finally done.