Tracy Morgan stars in the popular show "The Last O.G.," filmed in the same Brooklyn neighborhood where he grew up. The comedian and actor showed his skills in an impressive lineup of shows including "Def Comedy Jam," "Saturday Night Live," and "30 Rock." In our ongoing series, Note to Self, Morgan reflects on his childhood, his comedy career that began more than 20 years ago, his serious injuries from a 2014 car accident, and his subsequent recovery. Morgan shares those life lessons in a heartfelt message to his 6-year-old self.
Dear Little Tracy,
I know you're scared right now and that's alright. Your dad just left and he was your protector. You're going to be mad at him for a long time, but try to remember he was a good man. He went away and fought for his country, but came back hooked on heroin. Your mom couldn't have him in the house. She had five kids to raise and she couldn't raise them around a drug addict. It's going to be hard, but you're going to make it.
Other people in your life are going to man up, or kid up, like your older brother Jimmy. I love you, Jim. I know he's handicapped and can't fight all the bullies in the neighborhood when they pick on you, but he's going to protect you in other ways. He's gonna show you how to use your brain and not your fist or a gun. Of course, it's not going to be easy. To paraphrase Bette Davis, "It's going to be a bumpy life."
You'll watch all the old movies like, "Maltese Falcon", "Angels with Dirty Faces", and your favorite "To Kill a Mockingbird." For some reason, you're drawn to these films. They'll be asking, "Why is this little black kid in the projects watching old ass white movies starring old ass white people?" Don't worry about them, though. You're going to do a lot of things people think are crazy because you are a little crazy, boy. There's nothing wrong with that. Listen to me. Just embrace it. It's gonna come in handy.
They're going to think you're crazy when you move in with your girlfriend named Sabina and her two sons when you're 22 and jobless. This woman, she's gonna be the one that's going to become your wife and gonna be the one to encourage you to get on stage and be funny. She's gonna say, "I know you funny boy, pull the trigger."
And remember once you're on stage making them laugh, you're on your way. No heckler can hurt you. Hey man, you've made killers in the projects laugh so a heckler don't mean nothing. Some drunk dude in a comedy club making fun of your propeller hat, that can't intimidate you. You won't be intimidated by nothing.
Not even auditioning for TV shows like "Saturday Night Live."
Hey, when it comes to show business you've seen your favorites like Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor, George Carlin, you've seen them do it a thousand times so it ain't gonna mean nothing to you. The only thing that can stop you little boy, is the same thing that stopped your dad – drugs and alcohol.
It'll cost you your marriage. You'll lose a good woman but not your life. You'll sober up and you'll still be funny. Nothing's gonna stop you, not even a Walmart truck. You may not know it now, but you're strong, man. You're strong. You'll have a lot of things going for you. Second chance at love and life.
Someday you're going to be a protector of your own family. And you will never ever leave.