Black Love is a topic that I could spend hours talking about. It’s also something that Hollywood, and the media, don’t showcase enough. With so much negativity going on in our world and communities, it is important that we spotlight these love stories that resonate in our culture. Despite what you may think or what the headlines of the day are, Black Love is alive and well and should be respected and celebrated.
I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of 20 Movies that Showcase Black Love. These stories are a kaleidoscope of tales ranging from the 50’s to present day, and narrate Black Love in a way that we all can appreciate.
Take a peek at my list, and put these on your Movie Night rotation.
This movie is a throwback to that 70’s kinda love that we still want to experience to this day. The movie Claudine focuses on a single mother raising six kids who falls in love with a garbage man. Basic? Not so much. Their relationship is tested with the welfare system and child support and kids who are coming into their own. It is one of my favorite movies, and if you haven’t seen it, please make sure you watch it ASAP.
2. If Beale Street Could Talk
Based on the book by James Baldwin with the same name, it’s a beautifully shot opus centered on young Black Love and the blending of families during a difficult time. Have your tissues ready.
What you put out is certain to come back to you. And when it does, you’ll find it hilariously funny. This superficial look at Black Love through the eyes of Eddie Murphy and a cast of amazingly funny Black actors from the 90’s showcases why our stories deserved to be told on screen en masse.
4. Carmen Jones
Dorothy Dandridge sizzles in Carmen Jones, a musical starring an all-Black cast in the 1950’s. Carmen is a beautiful lady who has her share of bad luck. Will it turn all around once she meets her man?
5. Coming to America
This movie is in my Top Five movies of all time for various reasons. For this list, it serves a comedic look at love and how no matter where you’re from, who’s for you will be for you—if it’s destiny (and stars Eddie Murphy), it’ll happen.
This movie is Black Love at its funniest—for sure.
6. Love Jones
Love Jones was one of the first movies I saw as a full-fledged adult that had two main characters who were young, gifted, and black. Larenz Tate and Nia Long made a gorgeous couple that people still talk about 20 years later.
I watched a bootleg version of this film on a Firestick of my then-friend now beau when it first came out and I was (and still am) in awe of the beautifully shot images. This Oscar-winning (and rightfully so) movie is the first one that I’ve seen with gay Black Love as the center of the story. Riveting. So good.
8. Queen & Slim
It may be too soon to write about this, as Queen & Slim is the most recently released movie on my list. It’s also probably one of the most polarizing, as this Bonnie and Clyde themed love story has so many stereotypical issues, it’s become problematic. In any rate, it is a Black Love story, so it deserves mentioning here.
Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams star in this 70’s styled Black Love film about a designer turned model turned muse who becomes a worldwide sensation, only to learn that she didn’t need the fame to feel important—she needed her man. It’s a campy flick for sure, but oh so Black Love approved.
10. Brown Sugar
“You are a perfect verse over a tight beat”. That pretty much sums up Brown Sugar, an ode to hip-hop and first loves. Dre and Sydney are childhood friends who are successful adults in the hip-hop world. Music is the tie that keeps bringing them together, but outside interests try to intervene.
11. Love and Basketball
Black Love is the perfect foundation for this film that spans the falling in love, falling out of love, and falling back in love—with one another and with basketball. This is the perfect Netflix and Chill kinda flick.
12. Poetic Justice
Can you love again after seeing your boyfriend shot and killed in front of you? If it’s Tupac and you are Janet Jackson, it can.
13. Disappearing Acts
Not all Black Love stories are perfect with tied up endings. In Disappearing Acts Frankie and Zora ride the up and down waves of being in a relationship while one is gainfully employed while the other one isn’t.
Based on the bestseller by Terry McMillan, you’ll love it (and hate it), but know that the real-life themes and issues seen in the movie are hella real.
Watch it on YouTube HERE.
14. Two Can Play That Game
Two Can Play That Game is a Black Romcom that is witty and funny for its day. Starring Vivica A. Fox and Morris Chestnut, it’s a war of wills and who can outsmart who.
15. Just Wright
This is an unlikely love story, which is probably why I watch it every time it is on television. Queen Latifah and Common star as a physical therapist and NBA basketball player who help one another. They begin to fall for one another but there’s a hitch—Common is engaged to Queen Latifah’s God-sister (played by Paula Patton) She’s eye candy but Queen Latifah is soul food. Which one will he choose?
16. Beyond the Lights
This film is kinda like The Bodyguard meets a Rihanna video for the millennial set. Also, a tale to remind us that love can happen to us at any time, if we are open to it.
17. Their Eyes Were Watching God
Halle Berry is so beautiful in this TV film adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and she does a fairly good job with the southern geechie dialect and wordplay. Michael Ealy isn’t too bad (looking) either, and makes for a visually stunning movie with Black Love as the centerpiece.
18. Why Did I Get Married?
You know I can’t leave out a Tyler Perry film, right? As a married woman when I first watched this movie, I could so relate to almost each couple. The premise is this: four married couples who have been friends since college link up at a log cabin for a weekend of friendship and bonding–only some friendships are tested and some bonds are broken. This Black Love at its most Tyler Perry-ish.
19. The Best Man
Written and directed by Spike Lee’s cousin Malcolm D. Lee, The Best Man is a well written Black Love story with an ensemble cast that’s pique late 90’s Black Hollywood. Even when you watch it 20+ years later, the themes and dialog still hold up.
20. How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Another Terry McMillan book-turned-movie makes my list of 20 Movies That Showcase Black Love. Stella is a 40-something woman who, after losing her well-paying job, decides to go on a trip to Jamaica with her best friend. She meets a young ebony lad and sparks fly.
Loosely based on Terry’s own MILF-esque experience in which she meets, dates, and marries a man 20 years her junior, this movie is certified Black Love approved.
While there are tons of other movies with Black Love themes (Jason’s Lyric, Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Hav Plenty, Baggage Claim, and even Purple Rain–to name a few), these movies are a great foundation for Black Love on the big and little screen.