It’s been 13 years since we lost comedy legend, Bernie Mac. His legacy remains firm as today’s comedians are inspired by his greatness. Mac’s tough demeanor was no secret and was surely evident in his comedic delivery. He was a straightforward comedian and as Stan Lathan, producer of “The Bernie Mac Show” said in 2008, “The Bernie Mac on television and in the movies, is the same Bernie Mac in life—the same wit, and audacity. He brought that to the screen and on stage.”
That tough demeanor could have been attributed to his “strict, no non-sense” upbringing, as noted by the Seattle Times in 2008. “I came from a place where there wasn’t a lot of joy,” Mac said in 2001. “I decided to try to make other people laugh when there wasn’t a lot of things to laugh about.” It provided for an entertaining view of aggression but in reality, it was a tough reign to live under.
His daughter, Je’Niece McCullough, spoke about the experience recently. “If he was happy, we were happy”, she recounted on Episode 3 of the Can We Talk’ Podcast. “I think it’s important (to discuss) so people can understand he was a mere mortal and his celebrity didn’t exempt him from making (and growing from) mere mortal mistakes.” He came to grips with those ‘mistakes’ and sought to make them right before his passing. Moments that helped heal Je’Niece’s anxiety and made their father-daughter connection stronger. “I was complete,” McCullough continued. “Thankfully, I can honestly say my father gave me complete closure and peace by the time he passed.”
It takes humility on both sides to choose to heal together. He, understanding the errors in his ways and she, accepting the apology. I can only imagine the thoughts that they each were experiencing while making the decision to forgive the past and make the best of the moments ahead. “Regardless of your age, it is a powerful experience to be finally seen, heard and held by your parents,” writes Carista of Confused About Love. “When this mutual healing happens, what remains is mutual understanding, love, and care. Both the adult child and their parents are guided to compassionately explore, resolve and grow beyond the early childhood wounding experiences, and restore the love that all parents and children have for each other.”
I commend Je’Niece McCullough for opening herself up to her father’s apology and choosing to better the relationship. Though he’s no longer with us, I also commend Bernie Mac for admitting his wrongs and changing his ways.
Let this serve as a reminder of the power of healing. While some things are unforgivable, some are worth your mercy. The delicacy of time proves that it’s always worth investigating forgiveness.