Romantic comedies deserve the same amount of respect we give other genres, especially Black rom-coms. We don’t have nearly as many as we should. There are so many forms of Black love and I would love to see them in romantic comedies with tropes many claim to be tired of seeing in movies. The thing is, you aren’t necessarily tired of them, you’re just tired of seeing the same people in them. Some of the movies I've put on this list have tropes that have been done a million times over, but while they are far from perfect they do a pretty good job of showing Black women taking the lead in love.
Deliver Us from Eva (2003)
Deliver Us from Eva is a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew. The story focuses on the Dandridge sisters. Their parents passed away when they were young. The eldest sister, Eva (Gabrielle Union), assumes the primary role of making sure her sisters are well taken care of, but that role didn’t end for Eva. She loves hard, and her sisters know that. Unfortunately and annoyingly, her sisters’ husbands feel differently about how protective Eva is over her sisters. So, because men have to get into women's’ business when no one asks them to, they set Eva up with a local ladies' man (LL Cool J). Shenanigans.
Not only does this movie star some of my favorites like Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, and Essence Atkins, it’s got a lot of Gabrielle Union telling people off. Rightfully too, despite how her brothers-in-law try to frame her character. Eva is fantastic at what she does, and best of all, she doesn’t have to give it up by the time the credits start rolling.
Two Can Play That Game (2001)
Before Vivica A. Fox started making wigs, she was in all the movies. Independence Day, Soul Food, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Idle Hands, Kill Bill: Volume 1&2, and Ella Enchanted. She was literally in all the things. This doesn’t even include shows. Two Can Play That Game is a romcom Fox headlined. Yes, she’s joined by a man who has been fine the entire time I’ve been alive, Morris Chestnut, but it’s Vivica’s movie.
She plays the character Shante Smith, who I probably wouldn’t take a ton of relationship advice from, but I’d definitely pretend to listen for the sheet entertainment. This movie also has some Gabrielle Union in it too. It’s a fun movie that is very much a victim of its time. Most romcoms are. Nevertheless, it’s a rom-com that is all about Shante, and that’s why we’re here. Well, also for Mr. Chestnut, but you get the point.
Jumping The Broom (2011)
For a moment, you almost forget Jumping The Broom is a Bishop T.D. Jakes production. (If you've ever seen the movie Women Thou Are Loose, then you’ll understand why I made a point to mention that.) Jumping The Broom, is a cute Christian under-and-over-toned movie. It co-stars Paula Patton and Laz Alonso, but really it stars Loretta Devine and Angela Bassett. It’s a shame we haven’t gotten more from the pair — two soon to be mothers-in-law who don’t see eye to eye in movies. The way these two go at one another is highly entertaining and some of the movie's best parts. The romance aspect of it is pretty good, too, except for the borderline if not the cringey budding relationship between Romeo Miller and Tasha Smith’s characters. That aside, there are also some great moments about love and forgiveness that aren’t too hamfisted.
Just Wright (2010)
Just Wright is here on this list based on the strength of the one and only Queen Latifah. Common is in it and plays her patient turned love interest, but that is not at all how this movie ended up on this list. Have you seen Common act in a role in which he wasn’t playing some sort of assassin or hit-man? Right. Anyway, back to The Queen. This is actually one of a few Queen Latifah romcoms. Just Wright is this story about a woman who remains true to herself and doesn’t have to compromise at the end to have a happy ending. The best part is that she secures two bags. One, securing a physical therapist position with a professional basketball team and then marrying one of the team players. A hall of fame win-win situation.
Something New (2006)
What can I say? I love Sanaa Lathan. If I could have made a valid argument for how it’s a rom-com action thriller horror, I would have put AVP on here. Something New was the next closest thing, and it has Matthew McConaughey from Earth-2 in it. That’s no shade to Simon Baker. This is a movie that focuses on friendship a great deal, which I really appreciate. It’s also a victim of a very specific time related to the conversation revolving around Black women wearing their natural hair becoming more public. But like when isn’t that the case, that’s still a topic today. However, this movie came out just before Garnier Fructis, and Patene decided they wanted to add coconut oil to everything and make their bottle some shade of brown.
The movie focuses on Kenya McQueen's life (Sanna Lathan) who’s routine of living life is starting to wear on her, and she wonders if she’s pleased. Spoiler alert, she’s not. The movie couldn’t be more cringe and not subtle by introducing a white guy as the new person to get her metamorphosis going, but hey, there are some cute moments. Plus, again, it stars Sanaa Lathan, and there is some home renovation that happens. How can you not like that?
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