by Myasia Layne
As a single woman, Valentine’s Day (or what I like to refer to as Love Day), was not the most romantic moment. So, I spent most of the day drinking wine and indulging in the love stories of others. Coincidentally, I was tasked by my editor to write about “The Evolution of Black Romance Movies.” Now, I had only watched about four films that day. That’s not nearly enough to really assess the evolution of black romance movies. With my best friend’s Netflix login and my jail-broken fire stick, I watched the following films in chronological order.
#10 Purple Rain (1984)
Though this is more of a coming of age story, I love the romance between The Kid (Prince) and Apollonia (Apollonia). It reminds me of what it felt like to be young and in love while chasing your dreams.
#9 Poetic Justice (1993)
This is a no brainer. It’s Janet Jackson and Tupac! Who doesn’t love an opposites attract type of love vibe?
#8 Love Jones (1997)
They say if it’s real let it go and see if it comes back. Love Jones definitely did that mantra justice. Nia Long and Larenz Tate embodied that real soul connection in this production. Also, the petty drama with her dating Bill Bellamy’s character for a hot second is popcorn worthy.
#7 Love & Basketball (2000)
Now y’all know, we can’t discuss black romance films without this being on the list. Who ain’t ever reenact that scene in the dorm room when they played strip ball?! Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps were the original couple goals!
#6 Brown Sugar (2002)
The way the love story between Sid (Sanaa Lathan) and Dre (Taye Diggs) involves the story of Hip Hop is so magical for me as an extreme Hip Hop enthusiast! I can listen to this soundtrack straight through – any day!
#5 Just Wright (2010)
This love story deserves our attention for two reasons: Common’s fine self and the fact that it showcases a love that sees past stereotypes and goes beyond the surface.
#4 Beyond The Lights (2014)
This has to be one of the cheesiest films I’ve ever seen. However, Noni (Gugu Mbatha Raw) and Kaz (Nate Parker) were super cute together in this.
#3 Moonlight (2016)
Another classic coming of age film with a dope love story weaved into it. The film follows Chiron (Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, & Alex Hibbert), a gay black male, as he journeys through life from childhood to adulthood. He ultimately reunites with his teenage love and the audience doesn’t get much of a sense of his future past that but you are left feeling hopeful.
#2 Queen & Slim (2019)
With all the police brutality and racial-political climate of the country today, this film really hit deep. Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith were amazing in this non-traditional love story. Though I heard comparisons to Bonnie and Clyde, I feel this love story transcends beyond just a ride or die love and truly depicts how, as black people, we love each other through society’s perpetual hate of our people.
#1 The Photograph (2020)
In her debut drama role, Issa Rae really shines and shows she has range. Alongside Lakeith Stanfield, this love story just made me feel all warm and tingly inside.
Although I love a simple, good ol’ love story, I really appreciate films like Moonlight and Queen & Slim that address more serious issues within the Black community. I think it’s important to depict characters that are dealing with issues we face today and are still able to find love with each other. I’ll forever, fondly, reminisce on the days I played strip basketball with my high school boyfriend though!