Hey Y’all, His Name Is Eddie KING, Jr. Not Eddie Kane, Jr. Here’s How I Know. » VSB

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Hey Y’all, His Name Is Eddie KING, Jr. Not Eddie Kane, Jr. Here’s How I Know.

It is amazing how a simple comment or Facebook status message can lead to clarity, but that’s exactly what happened that has me out here doing it for the culture and providing some definitive information to settle bets that have languished for years. Hell, I, myself, lost $20 on this very discussion because of a bet that I placed where I just KNEW The Five Heartbeats lead singer was, in fact, Eddie Kane, Jr.

I was, in fact, wrong. So let’s set the table.

Kendrick Lamar – you may have heard of him – recently released his latest album, DAMN., to much fanfare and discussion on the Internets. The discussions have spread low and wide and if you’re Black and listen to music, there’s a better than 90 percent chance you have at some point in the past four days had a discussion about this album.

On this discussion-heavy album, there is a song called “GOD.” which I love. I listen to it all the time. It features many things held near and dear to Black people including the statement “don’t judge me” and a reference to El Debarge and his finger waves, long held to be one of the 9 wonders of the Black world. I cannot name the other 8 because that would be snitching, which is frowned upon, and that credo may or may not be a wonder of the Black world. You can see how complicated Blackness gets.

In this song – and this is NOT snitching – Kendrick drops the line, “slick as El Debarge with finger waves, work it JT!” which is a nod (I assume) to none other than J.T. Matthews, one of the members of The Five Heartbeats, a fictional group, long thought to be patterned after The Dells, for which a movie of the same name, The Five Heartbeats, exists. The other members of the group are Donald “Duck” Matthews (J.T.’s brother and songwriter of the group), Terrence “Dresser” Williams (whose real name you only find out through google because I’m not sure his real name is ever said in the movie), Anthony “Choir Boy” Stone (whose name DOES get said in the movie), and the lead singer, the one and only, Eddie King, Jr., a man for whom the pronunciation of his name has caused actual arguments and fist fights. It’s been said (though Snopes.com cannot prove it) that the first World Star fight video was between a grandmother and her 2nd cousin about whether Eddie’s last name was King or Kane.

“Work it, JT” derives from an early scene in the movie where J.T. and Duck run a scam on women that I’m pretty sure does not still work today, where Duck would go over to a woman and get her number for J.T. by convincing said woman that J.T. was too shy (I’m guessing that shit was cute back then) to come over himself. After a show where former lead singer (another fact verified by the interview that will be mentioned), Bobby, who lost his spot to Eddie by way of getting shot in the leg after running from a card game – we never hear from Bobby again – J.T. and Duck run the scam and then Duck asks J.T. to work the scam for him. It looks like it’s going really well, hence the line, “work it J.T., work it!” by Duck, only it turns out that J.T. selfishly got the chick’s number for himself. But because God has a sense of humor and also doesn’t like ugly, the woman whose number J.T. got was at the restaurant with a man who uttered the quotable ass quote, often heard at nightclubs and Black game nights everywhere, “every night I have to fight to prove my love” as he goes off to whip J.T.’s ass.

Long explanation aside, that “work it J.T.” line is one of my favorites. Always has been. Me and my boys use it all the time.

I made mention of this on Facebook and one of my friends from college, and real talk I always give him credit for this, one of the reasons I ever started blogging in the first place, Calvin, jumps into the comments with this:

“My favorite Five Heartbeats pet peeve/nit pick is that people refuse to call Eddie King Jr by his real name….it’s not Eddie Kane or Eddie Cain or any other such variation! It’s almost as bad as people saying “who else wanna eff with Hollywood Cole” (it’s Hollywood Court)”

I, too, detest that everybody refers to that Hollywood Court as Hollywood Cole, a nod to Outkast’s song “Spottieottiedopalicious” where Dre’s Atlanta accent confused way too many people, but if you aren’t from Atlanta then there is literally NO reason to know about Hollywood Court, a now demolished housing project on the West side of the city in Zone 1.

An-t-way, Calvin’s comment reminded me of the time that I got verification from one person who could provide such verification of what Eddie’s ACTUAL last name is: Robert Townsend, the who directed The Five Heartbeats, and co-wrote it with Keenan Ivory Wayans. If anybody knows the truth, it’s him. Right? Right.

It just so happens that through the power of the Internets I once got the opportunity to speak to him and ask him directly. A woman I  knew through VSB and I were talking about me wanting to ask Robert Townsend himself. Turns out, she was a publicist with The Caraway Group AND doing work for her firm on another movie he directed called In The Hive. She said she’d set up an interview with him if I agreed to interview him about the movie and write a piece on VSB about it. (I still have all of the emails from September 2011 to prove it.)

Bruh. Sign me up.

She set up the interview and I had the opportunity to talk to him about In The Hive. We chopped it up for about 30 minutes and toward the conclusion of the interview I told him that I had to ask him a question that was going to settle bets everywhere: in The Five Heartbeats, what is Eddie’s last name?

He said, definitively, that it was King. We laughed about that and I told him that I was about to lose a bet because I swore his last name was Kane (like so many people do). We got off the phone and I never did write up that feature (my bad).

But from there, every time it comes, I make sure to reference that convo to people and make sure that I’m doing my part for the culture. So if you are indeed wondering and have been calling that man Eddie Kane, Jr., since the 90s, the truth is, his real name is Eddie King, Jr.

His name is his name. Sharing is caring and the more you know…ding.

So in case you ever wondered, to quote Maxwell, don’t ever wonder.

You’re welcome.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • Jennifer

    This is like that day I found out chitlins were actually called chitterlings. Paradigm shifted.

    • cyanic

      I love our pronunciation of everything. Profanity has more bite when we say it because we saw off the proper endings to the words for flow and the impact is always greater.

      • SororSalsa

        Like Bernie Mac’s explanation of all of the ways “futhermucker” can be used: “It’s a noun…it describes a person, place or thing.”

    • blueevey

      Today I learned!

    • Looking4Treble

      But I dare you to go anywhere in the South and request “Chitterlings”. Make sure you film it.

      • Jennifer

        First, I gotta find the restaurant that still sells chitlins. They’ve gone the way of the dodo and the Jheri curl.

        • Looking4Treble

          You gotta find an older auntie to take you on the back roads. Trust me, they are still around.

        • SororSalsa

          Just follow the smell….you’ll find it.

        • I wouldn’t trust a restaurant to make my chitlins. I need to be *there* for the cleaning.

    • L8Comer

      Huh? I always thought that was just a joke. Like a funny spelling.

    • Bwahahaha

  • TheCollinB

    I’ve never seen the Five Heartbeats
    *no shrug*

    • cyanic

      Don’t shrug. Receive me hug and immediately make your way to a streaming site that has the movie. Or better yet go over a loved ones home and barrow their DVD copy.

      • TheCollinB

        I’m not gonna do that Cy. At this point in life I think it adds an air of mystery to me, it takes other n*ggas off guard that I haven’t seen it. I like it.

        • cyanic

          You’re depriving yourself a classic from our community.

          • TheCollinB

            I’ve seen junkies sing before. I’ve seen Townsend act poorly and I’ve seen Wale with a baby afro (you can’t tell me that n*gga in yellow ain’t Wale time travelin). I got all bases covered, I’m guc.

            • Jennifer

              “(you can’t tell me that n*gga in yellow ain’t Wale time travelin)”

              I was gonna clown you for your willful ignorance of a great movie, but this line took me out. Well-played, sir.

            • cyanic

              Because you insist on being set apart I want the white world to discover your unique talent. Pry you away from your good sense and have you waking up shackled to the rest of us Heartbeats fans in a perpetual marathon you’re unable to close your eyes to Clockwork Orange style.

              • TheCollinB

                +1 for the Kubrick reference. I might watch based on this analysis.

        • TheUnsungStoryteller


          • TheCollinB

            Yah yah, yah yah (c) Kendrick Lamar

        • Roz

          I’m going to use this too.

          • TheCollinB

            I’m here for the people

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      Hand me over your black card. You have 1.5 seconds.

      • TheCollinB

        You’re gonna have to beat me at spades to get it, and I ain’t lost since Ashanti had a number one album.

        • TheUnsungStoryteller

          *Walking away.

          You didn’t have to attack my lack of certain life experiences like that, yo.

          You win. For now. Because I can’t play spades to save my black life.

          • Mochasister

            I don’t play spades either. But I’m Black ya’ll! And I’m Black ya’ll! And I’m Blackety Black ya’ll!

        • Zil Nabu

          As long as you play Joker, joker, deuce (diamonds), deuce (spades), ace with some top 5, ace check, sandbags, and blinds then I might could let you be my spades partner.

          • panamajackson

            I’d run all y’all off some tables, lawn or fancy.

            • Zil Nabu

              You don’t want none of these here books. Say when and where and we can do this.

    • Zil Nabu

      This is not the way to unicorn status.

      • TheCollinB

        Ain’t no one way to it. It’s try and fail.

    • Roz

      Me neither *shrug*

    • Val

      But you paid $1000 for a Kelis album? Priorities, Man, priorities!

      • TheCollinB

        I see nothing wrong

    • Michelle is my First Lady

      Don’t be ashamed. I’ve only seen it once.

      • TheCollinB

        Please, join me at the table.

    • You need some ackright in your life.

      • TheCollinB

        How tho Pinks? I really don’t think I missed anything I didn’t get from the temptations movie. Nothing can be harder than “ain’t nobody came to see you Otis!”

        • Because you don’t know about the beauty of Eddie KING, Jr., and that infamous scene where they do it like they did in the tunnel.

          If you can’t sing along to A Heart is a House for Love, you ain’t nobody I want to know. I’ll lend you my DVD, but you must correct this expeditiously!

  • Glam Life

    My Papa had a friend (I thought) he called Kane all my life….I was like 25 when I found out that man’s government name was Mr. King….I was like what is life? Is everything I know a story (because you know I can’t call my Papa a l*e) What other things have I been mishearing all my life? Smh.

  • Irked Wind & Tired (Hooba)

    We call Eddie King Eddie Kang because the man didn’t simply ‘sing’, that man SANG!

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      Good cover up

      • Irked Wind & Tired (Hooba)

        LOL no cover up. All you have to do is read the credits to see the man’s name was King. But let me go head on and let y’all be great. ?

        • Charlito Brown

          Exactly. Good point. I come from a family of movie/TV buffs, musicians, DJs, music lovers, etc. We read credits.

          I’ve know it was King for years, but I still don’t correct folks when they say Kane/Cain. Black folks gotta have something. Even if that something is the right to be incorrect without being judged for it lol.

    • Looking4Treble

      I dig the name of your avatar. Nice job.

      • Charlito Brown

        Co-sign. ?

  • Wizznilliam

    I learned about Hollywood Court on this very page… I had been saying Hollywood Colt for literal decades.. There was something else that Badu says that someone here corrected me on too… I think yall need a southern drawl Google translator or something… For us folk who grew up in the Midwest. I catch some stuff because I spent some time in Dallas.. But others fly WAY over my head.

    This one… I’m just like… For real??? King? Are you sure Townsend said that?

    • The Erykah Badu line you’re thinking of is “work ain’t honest, but it pays the bills.” A lot of people misquote it as “work ain’t nothing, but it pays the bills.” Erykah Badu has corrected people on Twitter if they at her and quote the line.

      • Wizznilliam

        Actually I got that right believe it or not… The line I got wrong was:
        “Most intellects do not believe in God, but they fear us just the same.”
        I always though it was:
        “Most intellects do not believe in God, but the fear is just the same.”

        I had to go back in my history to remember what it was… You were actually the one who posted it right and blew my mind.

  • My mom and I have this thing where we see each other, hold open our imaginary sparkly suit jackets and go “DAAAAAAANNNGGGGGGG” or whatever it was he said in the midst of his crackhead throes outside the performance arena that night.


    • Yes! Me and my sisters do this all the time too lol.

      • The movie has so many quotables.

        • Looking4Treble

          My favorite is “How does it feeel to be meeeee.”

          • Gotta stretch your bottom jaw with the feeeel and show all them teeth lol

            • CParis

              You mean teef, right?

            • Looking4Treble


  • I was just watching The Five Heartbeats on Netflix the other day. It literally never gets old. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/99fa514850c2acae4a1ae5ade6a2ada670765cdc76ddf81eb0701327b792d405.jpg

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      And you better get it right or you’ll be forced to get some fresh air…upside down

      • BrothasKeeper

        Big Red didn’t have to do Jidenna like that.

        • TheUnsungStoryteller

          Jidenna!!! ? So that’s his inspiration…

        • That’s so funny, he does kinda look like Jidenna tho

          • Lisawmorneau

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours & have longer with friends and family! !sy60c:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. Follow this link for more information
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        • Janelle Doe


        • Brother Mouzone

          I like how he said “excuse me ladies” with a smile, before he continued to whuppin dat a$$.

          • BrothasKeeper

            They had couth back then!

        • Please don’t hate on Jidenna.

        • M.J.

          Jidenna is truly channeling Big Red in the Bambi video when his hair comes apart, LOL!

          • SororSalsa

            You know, one of my favorite things about Jidenna’s appearance on Insecure was when he woke up in Molly’s bed, and his hair was mussed. That, before the Bambi video, was the first time I ever saw Jidenna looking anything but casket sharp.

      • Mary Burrell

        Oh that’s the scene where with Big Red. I remember that he was a great villain.

    • Mr. Mooggyy

      If I may, I would like to respond in video form!


      • eno

        Hair went from buttered to hot mess in under 5 seconds.

      • Brother Mouzone

        One of my favorite movie @ss whuppins. Second only to Ray Liotta’s pistol whip of the dude that touched Kaaaaren.

      • Charlito Brown

        Can we talk about how genuinely funny that A-hole joke was? Lol. Maybe it was the delivery.

    • “M”


      I WISH

      *does the steps, twirls*

  • TheUnsungStoryteller

    This just ruined my whole day. I’ve been screaming Eddie Kane ever since I was a young child. Why.

  • Zil Nabu

    Publish the interview or it didn’t happen.

  • Zil Nabu

    It’s not Hollywood Cole?!!! I now question everything I ever thought I knew. Are my parents really my parents?

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