Marlon Wayans Opens Up About Raising A Transgender Son, Says New Special Will Be About His "Transition As A Parent"
Right now, the prolific actor, writer and comic is working on a follow up to his well-received stand-up comedy special God Loves Me, which premiered earlier this year on Max. At 51 years old with two adult children, Wayans has a more contemplative and conscientious approach to comedy than he did during his and his brothers’ heyday in the 1990s-2000s when they made crazed, crass, critically reviled and commercially beloved comedy movies and TV shows built off simple premises such as, “What if a little person pretended to be a baby?” or “What if two Black dudes pretended to be –”, well, you get the picture.
On a recent episode of the Breakfast Club podcast, Wayans discussed the serious topics he hopes to tackle with a semi-delicate comedic touch in his next special, tentatively titled Rainbow Child (or, alternatively, Skittles), revealing that much of his work will focus on his relationship with his transgender son and "my transition as a parent, going from ignorance and denial to complete unconditional love and acceptance." This new hour is shaping up to be Wayans’ most thematically weighty project since Haunted House 2.
“I have a daughter that transitioned into a son,” Wayans explained on the show, “My daughter Amai is now Kai. So I talk about the transition.” That transition in question isn't his child's journey, exactly, but Wayans' own maturation from a place of confusion and rejection of his son's identity into a state of acceptance and respect. “I think there's a lot of parents out there that need to (hear) that message, and I know I'm dealing with it. It was a very painful situation for me.”
Despite his family's struggle with his son's identity, Wayans says that the material he's acquired through the process helped him to develop “one of the best, funniest hours (of comedy) I could ever imagine.” Wayans described his son as “brilliant” and “the most well-read, smartest Wayans,” even though Wayans can't help but make jokes out of the situation. “I told my daughter (sic), I said, ‘N---, you transitioning into your brother, you look just like him.' I can't tell the difference between her and (Wayans' youngest son) Shawn!” later clarifying, “I'm still working on the pronouns. … They know I love them. They see me trying.”
“I gotta respect their wishes,” Wayans said of his oldest son. "As a parent, I just want my kids to be free. I want them to be free in spirit, free in thought, free to be themselves. The more you know yourself, the more you can govern yourself, the more you live your truth, the happier your existence. So if they can’t get that in the household with their father and their mother, how the f--- do I send them out into the world with that kind of confidence? And I’m just so proud of them being them."
Wayans said that, whatever the pronoun, his son Kai is always going to be his child – and being the child of a comedian has certain implications, even after the journey to acceptance that they've both undergone. “That don't mean that they ain't got jokes!”