On Screen Love

On Screen Love

The Capricorn in me is a hopeless romantic.  I love love. And not displays of love. (Don’t get me started on weddings.) But love as a verb. Like never leave your side while you’re in the hospital love or getting ice cream and tampons in the middle of the night type of love. And romance. Like plan a date or beat up my ex. Idk. 

Anyway, I also love romantic movies and romantic comedies. But there’s one huge issue that’s been driving me crazy especially as I trudge my way through the Modern Love series: where the sistas at? 

Throughout this entire series, there has been not a single black woman as the subject of love. Black men love on all the white women and there’s even a black man with a white guy. They could’ve included a sista somewhere in one of these stories.

The erasure of black women from love stories strips the away the possibility, the dream of meeting the love of my life in the grocery store or while minding my business while I walk down the street. It also pushes the notion that black women aren’t worthy of the fairytales. It shows guys when they go out and approach women and create these love narratives that the women must look a certain way and it’s not black. It’s never the black woman that needs saving. It’s never the black woman who deserves to be put on a pedestal. We don’t get to see Tracee Ellis Ross or Regina King or Yvonne Orji be swept off her feet and engaged in causal yet enlightening conversation at the coffee shops and bookstores. We go to bookstores and coffee shops and get ignored. The idea of black female unworthiness is pushed in subtle and blatant ways but what they did on Modern Love is simply passive. It sucks how much this awesome show lacks diversity.

I’ve followed the Modern Love column for years and watching it come to the screen was a big disappointment. And maybe they were staying true to the story. The writers  and the subjects could be white but the story could be told visually with a black woman or any woman unless that’s something the producers simply couldn’t imagine. And I wonder why that is? On the podcast, black actresses have narrated the stories but for some reason, they weren’t worthy of the screen.

Art imitates life. It would be irresponsible to pretend that this lack of representation doesn’t matter. I’m 31 and I care. Imagine what black girls and younger women think. I want to watch movies and film and see myself represented. That’s not too much to ask. Imagine growing up and associating love with something that happens for everyone else and not you. I’ve seen J Lo fall in love countless times and watched Gina Rodriguez joke about not bathing and getting dumped. Disney took forever to give us a princess. Lack of diversity is tired and boring. Something has to shake.  

Stella Meghie’s The Photograph will be a huge success because I for one can’t wait to see Issa fall in love on screen and plan on going multiple times. Just like I single handedly made CTRL go platinum, somehow, someway, I’ll get this movie to break some records. Full transparency, I can’t watch Love Jones (or One Day. Not a black woman but I LOVE THAT MOVIE) again. I want to see something else. A new and fresh love. I want to see Issa in forty different rom coms like J. Lo. I want to see Viola Davis lose her slipper. I want to see Teyonnah Paris and Aja Naomi King and Jazmyn Simon have whirlwind romances that leave me crying and hopeful. I want something new and modern that makes me believe like love is possible, like maybe the creeps in my DMs turn into longlasting love. Something that makes me swoon and get the heart eyes. Something that makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. I’m tired of the ghetto love stories on Facebook and relationship goals on Instagram. I’m ready to be swept away by a love story starring a lady that looks like me. 

Bye. I’m going listen to Garden.

1 Comment

  1. Matt Christian
    January 19, 2020 / 12:51 am

    Good read. I agree their should be more Black women on the big screen.

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