At the recent Screen Actors Guild Awards Show, Mark Wahlberg was the presenter for the Cast in a Motion Picture. The winner was the cast of Everything Everywhere All At Once, a movie consisting of mostly southeast Asian ancestry. While the movie has been raking in the awards everywhere, some people wonder if the shows producers could’ve got someone else beside Wahlberg.
While Wahlberg has rising in the last 30 years from a musical pop star to a well-respected actor, with many award nominations and accolades, as well as a producer of movies and TV shows, he has a dark history. If you’ve been living under a rock on Mars with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears, Wahlberg is from Boston. However, in his youth, he was juvenile delinquent. He was addicted to cocaine and abusing other illegal substances by the time he was 13. He didn’t even receive a high school diploma until he was 42 nearly 10 years ago.
As a teenager, he reportedly harassed many young black children yelling racial slurs and throwing rocks at them. In April of 1988 when he was 16, Wahlberg assaulted two Vietnamese-Americans and used many racial slurs against them when he was questioned by law enforcement. Wahlberg would later say that during this time he was high on PCP. Wahlberg was charged with attempted murder but pleaded guilty to felony assault and sentenced to two years but only served 45 days. He later thought by punching Johnny Trinh in the eye led to the man losing it, but Trinh later attributed to injuries he receiving while serving alongside American forces in the Vietnam War.
For years between 2006 to 2016, Wahlberg said he would like to meet with Trinh and make amends, but Trinh released a statement forgiving him in 2016. Wahlberg aslo applied for a pardon from the Commonwealth of Massachussetts but the petition was closed when he failed to answer a question to the parole board. If I remember correctly, Wahlberg was wanting to be a reserve officer or deputy but to do so meant he had to have a clean or expunged record.
When he began rapping, his name was Marky Mark and his group was called The Funky Bunch and consisted of black performers. Wahlberg over the years has appeared alongside many actors and entertainers of color including Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Stacey Dash, Damon Wayans Jr., and Octavia Spenser, his co-star in Instant Family. In that movie, he, along with co-star Rose Byrne, play a couple who fosters than adopts three Latino children. When he started out rapping, his image was that of a bad boy.
However, by the 2010s, Wahlberg in his 40s seemed to be on a trajectory to reform his image. He has openly talking about his Catholic faith and how he prays for about an hour each day. However, in a recent interview on The Today Show, he says while his faith and religion works for him, he doesn’t think any religion or faith should be forced on people. And I agree. He’s also started the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation which assists and helps inner city youth.
He’s even said he’s not too proud of some of his earlier works, such as Boogie Nights, which involved sex scenes. At 51, he’s been married to Rhea Dunham, a model, since 2009 and they have four children. It looks like the bad boy of rap has become just another family man trying to do right the best he can while using his advanatages to make things better for those around him.
We love comeback stories. And the Bible is full of stories of redemption. But the $64,000 question is would we be offering this same feeling of forgiveness to Wahlberg if he wasn’t white and a devout Catholic? Every time a black man dies at the hands of law enforcement, right-wing media, conservatives, your aunt and uncle and especially certain Christians do a background check of epic proportions. They find everything someone has done wrong. If they ate paste too much in kindergarten, they mention that.
At the same time, people are saying Wahlberg should be forgiven for things he did as a teenager because he’s reformed himself. As redemption should be, since Trinh forgave him as well, we should cut Wahlberg a break. You can look at the racial harassment as mob mentality as Wahlberg did it to fit in. And substance abuse might explain his actions as well but neither excuses it. Boston isn’t known for its tolerance. Remember in 1989 when Charles Stuart killed his pregnant wife, Carol, and alleged she was shot by a black man in a carjacking. It caused severe racial tensions in the Boston area. Just because you live in an enviroment where racial slurs are thrown about doesn’t mean you have to do it yourself.
But can people fully be redeemed and reformed? In 1997, I read an article about David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam Killer, in which some people argued that Berkowitz might have actually been possessed by demons. Berkowitz is now a born-again Christian and has become a model prisoner. The article which was in an adult magazine, Playboy or Penthouse, pretty much presented an objective look at whether forgiveness is warranted for violent crimes.
Just recently, Jalen Carter, 21, a defensive lineman for the University of Georgia Bulldogs football was charged with reckless driving and racing in an accident that was fatal. According to reports, Carter was driving 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and was racing alongside a rented 2021 Ford Expedition being driven by Chandler LeCroy, 24, who lost control of the vehicle when speeds reached an excess of 100 mph and crash. UGA offensive lineman Devin Willcock, 20, was also killed.
There’s already rumors stating Carter was drunk. I don’t know if that is true or not, but Carter is a black person, only a few years older than what Wahlberg was and people are calling for him to be lynched on social media. LeCroy reportedly had a blood alcohol content of .197. Carter reportedly left the scene of the accident and gave false information to the police afterwards. Both charges are misdemeanors in the State of Georgia.
However, I feel, a lot of people have already made up their minds about Carter. Yet other celebrities have also been involved in deadly car accidents. Vince Neil of Motley Crue and Matthew Broderick were both involved in fatal car accidents. Neil was drunk at the time and charged with vehicular manslaughter but only served 30 days. Almost 40 years later, it’s almost forgotten. Former First Lady Laura Bush ran a stop sign when she was 17 and killed a good friend, Michael Dutton Douglas, but this has flown under the radar. Why? Because she was the First Lady, she was the daughter-in-law of a former President. And she’s white and her father was a successful real estate developer. It’s always about Daddy’s Money.
Supposedly, neighter Neil nor Broderick ever really apologized or showed much remorse to the victim’s families and close friends. And these incidents have mostly been forgotten. I may not always agree with him or like his movies, but at least Wahlberg appears to be atoning for his sins. And for that, people say forgiveness should be granted.
We should hold all people to the same standards. Yet, we won’t. We are divided among races. We are divided among religions. And we are divided among socio-economic levels.
What do you think? Please comment.