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Black Love and Laughs: Netflix’s Resurgence of Black Romantic Comedies

With the fall weather coming soon, cuffing season won’t be too far behind it. Last year’s lockdown allowed for new connections to build and creative ways to virtually communicate with family, friends, and significant others. With these new connections and creative virtual events, Netflix released a lot of new movies and has continued to do so a year later. Their selection still isn’t perfect, but there are more black feature films and throwbacks that many of us haven’t seen in such a long time. Over the last year or so, I’ve gotten the chance to use Netflix party to watch some of these films with many of my friends. Everyone seems to be in a nostalgic mood so watching old classics from the Y2K era brings back memories and along the way, laughs.

The older romantic comedies have also been great to watch for virtual dates. If you haven’t been keeping up with the ‘Black Stories’ section of Netflix, here is a brief guide on what movies I’ve re-watched and will soon be re-watching. Although we’re back to in-person classes or in the office, it’s important to still find time to unwind and relax with your favorite person or group of people. Disclaimer: Has anyone else discovered how problematic older movies have been? They're not all this way, but there’s always a scene or two that just makes you cringe a bit.

Love Don’t Cost A Thing (2003)

Starring Nick Cannon, Christina Milian, and Steve Harvey

As a remake to the 1987 classic, Can’t Buy Me Love, this take follows a modern-day high school black couple through the ups and downs of popularity. Re-watching this movie over Labor day weekend made the movie quite hilarious. If you want to watch it with your friends, you should drink every time someone adds an ‘izzle’ to the end of a word or every time someone pulls out a flip phone. Besides the fact that paying a girl to spend time with you is wrong, it has a positive message and Steve Harvey’s scenes alone will have you laughing for hours. I’d say the most iconic part of the movie was the beach scene where everyone has no idea they’re all doing 80’s workout aerobics.

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008)

Starring Martin Lawrence, Nicole Ari Parker, Monique, and Cedric the Entertainer

With such a star-studded comedic cast, this movie will surely make you laugh and surprisingly smile. It follows a TV talk show host and his soon-to-be wife through a journey of wedding jitters and family reunions. Martin Lawrence’s character, RJ Stevens, goes on a journey of self-discovery after spending time with his family and reclaims his name ‘Roscoe Jenkins’. Besides the constant fatphobia throughout the film, there were many humorous moments between Martin Lawrence and Cedric the Entertainer. My favorite would have to be their big fight after Cedric’s character becomes a sore loser from their dice game. They broke almost everything in RJ’s parent’s living room, but the funniest part of the scene is when they knock over the fresh pan of fried fish that RJ’s brother had just finished cooking. And what better way can we add to the heat of the drama than to have a love triangle? It’s a great romantic comedy with an emphasis on comedy.

Major Payne (1995)

Starring Damon Wayans, Karyn Parsons, and Orlando Brown

Major Payne is sent to work with a junior ROTC group after his honorable discharge from the Marines. He pushes the young boys to their limits in the most hilarious way which leads to their many attempts of ridding themselves of him. Throughout the film, the young boys grow to love Major Payne and he even finds a love of his own. Seeing a name such as Damon Wayans might already have people laughing so although this movie has a lot of heart it sure is peak-slapstick comedy. Like Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, this movie also emphasizes the comedic elements. I re-watched this movie recently with my girlfriend and ironically we found parallels of ourselves in Major Payne and his love interest. We found it hilarious that we could have anything in common with the two, but hey! That’s two Geminis for you.

Deliver Us From Eva (2003)

Starring Gabrielle Union and LL Cool J

A group of sisters has the perfect lives with their husbands except for the fact that their husbands cannot stand one of the sisters, Eva. As an attempt to get rid of her from their lives, they pay a friend to date her and hope that he breaks her heart in such a way that she takes a job promotion in another city. Again, why are we paying people for attention? This plot is strange but almost as old as time. Regardless of how cringe worthy it may be, I have to say it was very much enjoyable. The chemistry between Gabrielle Union and LL Cool J made the movie even more entertaining but their story of falling in love really hit home. They both took down their guard and allowed a beautiful relationship to flourish. If this isn’t one of the most perfect date night movies to watch then I don’t know what is. Side Note: If you sympathized with the sister’s husbands, you need a reality check. The fact of the matter is that they couldn’t handle a powerful woman who doesn’t allow a man to boss her around.

Love Jones (1997)

Starring Larenz Tate, Nia Long, and Isaiah Washington

When an aspiring writer instantly finds attraction to a local photographer at a poetry slam, he goes to great lengths to ask her on a date. After she finally decides to take him up on the offer, they spiral into a passionate, love-struck relationship. This is immediately halted when the photographer heads to another city regarding a job opportunity. Although they go through this rough patch and separate for many months, love always conquers. This movie is by far my favorite on this list. I have to say that it was quite weird the way he tracked her down in the beginning of the movie but after watching it I realized that they were both passionate lovers who always strived for what they wanted in life. Personal account: I re-watched this movie with my girlfriend on my birthday. As we cuddled on the couch, we found ourselves connecting with the characters which drew us closer together. Mental and emotional intimacy was shared while viewing the film. It was definitely a moment and a movie that I would never forget.



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