Much like Blackness is not monolithic, neither is Black love. The relationships in this collection range from young passions to midlife romance, and the types of movies range from glossy studio pictures to vital queer indies. They are poetic, comedic, rapturous and politically minded films — told with soul-stirring intimacy.
‘The Best Man’ (1999)
Rent or buy on most major platforms.
It’s been years since Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) has seen his old college buddies. With his best friend, Lance (Morris Chestnut), a star running back, getting married to Mia (Monica Calhoun), he must travel to New York City to attend their wedding. That prospect would be easier if Harper, a writer, didn’t base his new book off his friends’ lives. During the long weekend leading up to the wedding, Harper works to keep Lance from reading the novel, which contains a secret he’s kept from the groom, and from acting on his desires with an old flame, Kendra (Nia Long).
Composed of a deep ensemble — Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan and Regina Hall included — the film follows multiple relationships as these adult friends confront their romantic futures through biting humor and unflinching honesty. And thankfully, it kicked off a charming romantic film and TV franchise.
Stream it on Paramount+.
The Black romantic studio pictures of the 1990s were far different from their 1970s Blaxploitation predecessors. Rather than depicting an urban milieu populated by hustlers and pushers, the films that arrived during the newer decade captured an emerging, well-educated Black middle and upper class occupying high rises and boardrooms.
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