If you are anything like me, you just love Black Love. Let’s face it, relationships are hard. So, when I see Black Love thriving against all the odds that are against them, I cannot help but get excited. Seeing the nuances of Black people in love on film is something that is remarkable. In honor of February being the month of love with Valentine’s Day (or Single Awareness Day), and Black History Month, check out my list of the 10 must-see #BlackLove movies.
10 Must-See #BlackLove Movies:
– Love Jones
Ummmm, can we say LARENZ TATE! The man that does not seem to age had us all swooning over his portrayal of Darius Lovehall. And, Nia Long as Nina Mosely was the woman that every female could identify with (and wanted to be on the slick), and every man wanted to be with. A remarkable ensemble cast made this 1997 film an instant classic. Over 20 years later, the movie is still on repeat for many of us.
In the early 1990’s Eddie Murphy was still riding the wave as being one of the industry’s biggest stars and sex symbols. With the release of this romantic comedy in 1992, he delivered another blockbuster hit. Hailed for its fashion forward style, award-winning soundtrack, and legendary supporting cast members, “Boomerang” solidified its place in history if for nothing else, for providing us memorable lines that are still being quoted today and Toni Braxton’s “Love Shoulda Brought You Home.”
– The Best Man
We all know how crazy the days leading up to a wedding can be, but never before had we seen it depicted so perfectly on film. Director, Malcolm Lee provided a flawless backdrop to show all kinds of Blackness in how we handle friendships, success, fidelity, betrayal and loyalty. The biggest feedback I’ve always heard about this movie is that its real. The characters are flawed, and that is a main reason why we relate to them. All the way down to doing the Electric Slide at the wedding reception, this movie keeps it 100 and shows Black Love in multiple forms.
– Love & Basketball
You don’t have to be a basketball fanatic to love this movie. But, if you have an appreciation for the sport, you probably love how the film weaves together the culture of the sport with the difficulty of finding, recognizing, and sustaining love. From childhood crushes growing to face real life choices and the magnitude of choosing the right mate, Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps raised the bar on a sports-themed movie.
– Just Wright
Many consider this movie one of their guilty pleasures (I’m one of those people, lol). The movie has a predictable storyline, but that doesn’t stop it from being a feel-good classic. Queen Latifah shines as Leslie Wright, who is the quintessentially snubbed beauty that is intelligent and loyal but usually overlooked for her stereotypically beautiful friend played by Paula Patton. Rapper/Actor Common plays the pro basketball player, Scott McKnight, who both women show interest in but for very different reasons. In the end, Common picks the woman who truly loves him for who he is, but in reality, we know that doesn’t always happen. But, that’s what makes this movie both a guilty pleasure and feel-good film. We can watch and see a world where men actually make the right decisions (whew chile … the shade! LOL)
– The Wood
This movie captured all of the humor and nostalgia of our teenage angst on film. When their best friend goes missing the morning of his wedding, his two childhood friends track him down and sober him up all while recounting hilarious tales of experiencing all kinds of “firsts” while going through puberty and beyond. The movie shows the strength of true male friendships that support when needed but also calls you out when you are making a mistake. Omar Epps, Taye Diggs and Richard T. Jones have the perfect onscreen chemistry that made this movie another great film that shows the power of love in friendship and personal relationships.
– Jason’s Lyrics
Ok, I must admit that everyone may not agree that this movie should be on the list. Since its 1994 release to present day, it has been faced with mixed reviews. Admittedly, the storyline is convoluted between Jason’s dysfunctional family and the tender love story between he and Lyric. Despite these hurdles, Allen Payne and Jada Pinkett-Smith deliver powerful performances. I really like how the story shows these characters fighting to have a better life and relationship beyond what their troubled surroundings suggest they should settle for. Love isn’t easy. You have to work at it and fight for it, and at times, make the hard choice of leaving behind the things that are preventing you from achieving a better life. Even if some of those things are your family or the life you’ve grown accustomed to.
– How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Everyone’s favorite Auntie, Angela Bassett, made us all want to hop a flight to Jamaica and get our groove back with her portrayal of Stella. This 1998 film broke all kinds of perception barriers on how we viewed and thought about Black Love and age. We often see older men with younger women, but seeing that dynamic reversed is rarely seen. Both Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs who plays her love-interest, Winston, are equally breathtaking. Beyond the obvious age difference and long-distance struggles, they manage to overcome tons of obstacles to stay together and make their relationship work. The beauty of this film should not be overshadowed by the fact that this movie was based on the author’s, Terry McMillan, real life story, which was later revealed that her marriage to Winston failed.
– Poetic Justice
Two words – Tupac Shakur. I’ll give you another two – Janet Jackson. These two national treasures shine in this film that is unapologetically Black in beautiful ways. Janet’s performance as the reclusive Justice is #BlackGirlMagic on so many levels. To this day, I still here women in hair salons saying they want “Poetic Justice braids.” She is fierce yet vulnerable, and all inspiring in how she recites poems from acclaimed writer Maya Angelou throughout the film. One of the things I loved most about this movie was the portrayal of a Black man who broke every single negative stereotype. He was gainfully employed (as a postman no less), a protective single father, a defender of Black women (remember when he left his friend on the side of the road for hitting Regina King’s character?), and a creative spirit that put family first. I adore the notion this film presents of finding love in the most unlikely of ways, but how picturesque and authentic that can be if nurtured.
– Brown Sugar
This movie is the perfect cross-section for love and for the culture. While some of the plot points are predictable, the way the movie showcases our relationship with hip-hop was a fresh take on a romantic comedy. This star-studded cast included the likes of Taye Diggs as Dre, Sanaa Lathan as Sydney, along with Mos Def, and Queen Latifah. This movie was not just about love, but about our love for the music and culture that has shaped our lives. The parallels drawn between hip-hop and an actual relationship is interesting to watch unfold. And, the soundtrack gave us some hits like Erykah Badu’s “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop).” One of my biggest take-aways from this movie was about the importance of not just picking a mate because you have things in common, but because they support and believe in you. That’s what Sydney and Dre were for each other, which made Brown Sugar oh so sweet.