Hold the Trauma: I’m in the Market for a Silly, Sexy Black Rom-Com
It’s Valentine’s week, so I plan to watch a lot of Black love
I recently got a Valentine’s Day press release from a movie company that asked me to write about the romantic comedies in the company’s roster. They offered a list of the “most popular” lovey-dovey films of the 1990s and 2000s. And while I enjoyed 50 First Dates, snorted in laughter during There’s Something About Mary, and my heart ached for Sleepless in Seattle, what I found missing from the lists provided were the Black films.
It got me to wondering how they determined “popular.”
Now, Hitch was on the list. And so was Crazy Rich Asians. Both excellent, exciting films. They deserve to be on the list. But I wish that when publicists send out these ideas that they would include more than the token Black and token Asian films. If we’re talking rom-coms, then where was The Best Man, Jumping the Broom, or even a Christmas hit like Queen Latifah’s Last Holiday?
In fact, with The Best Man now headed to serial TV territory, it would have been a good play to offer up the film to watch on Valentine’s Day weekend to get viewers ready for the upcoming series. “Brush up on your Black love.” Something like that. But nope—instead, we got the typical rom-coms that make lists created by a publicity team that either thought they were catering to an all-White audience or didn’t fully consider that people of all races use their service.
What a shame and what a missed opportunity.
Now I know that some might argue that the quote-unquote White films already mentioned had huge box office numbers. Yes, they did. The #1 film on that list, Reese Witherspoon’s Sweet Home Alabama, took in $181 million, and Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s 50 First Dates hit $198 million, per Box Office Mojo. Hitch, which stars Will Smith, pulled in $371 million, but despite its overwhelming haul, it was listed last on the press release.
So The Best Man hauled in $34.57 million, Jumping the Broom brought in $37.7 million, and Common and Queen Latifah’s body-positive Just Wright pulled in $21.5 million. But box office haul was not a key indicator for the lists I was…