Gold Rings & Glass Slippers: ‘Just Wright’ Gives Single Black Women a Cinderella Love Story

Queen Latifah, Pam Grier and director Sanaa Hamri weigh in on the beauty of "regular" women, those dismal single black woman stats and finding lasting love--without taking Steve Harvey's advice.

IMDb Pro (courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures)
IMDb Pro (courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Recently, the media seems as fascinated by black women not finding husbands as it is the horrific Gulf Coast oil spill. Interestingly enough, both issues have socioeconomic ramifications, and both dilemmas seem to be mishandled and misunderstood. 

As in the case of the spill, these media pundits (and so called “relationship experts”) are using the wrong tactics to address the dynamics of marriage within African-American communities. To advise women to, “act like a lady and think like a man,” as Steve Harvey does in his book by the same name, is like using a meager conical dome to contain a 3,500 square mile oil slick. It’s ignorant, inappropriate and dead wrong. You can’t out-slick slick, and you can’t make single black women’s achievement a problem. The news is dismal enough without having Harvey and Nightline pimp African-American women as pathology. 

Research from Yale University suggests that highly educated black women are twice as likely to have never been married by the age of 45 as white women with similar education. Last month, The Economist dropped a bomb in its article, “Sex and the Single Black Woman,” when it reported that U.S.-born black women ages 30-44 who were married plunged from 62 percent to 33 percent due to the “explosive” incarceration rates of black men between 1970 and 2007. These stats are enough to clear any dance floor of women waving their left hands in their air singing, “If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it!” So what’s a single, successful black woman to do besides watch reruns of Carrie Bradshaw living it up on Sex and the City?

As Queen Latifah sees it, every woman (and man) needs to see her new romantic comedy Just Wright. (Well, she does have a movie to promote.) “I definitely think it can be empowering for women to watch this movie, because the average, everyday woman who works really hard and is successful will see herself in these characters,” Latifah says. “But I also think guys will be inspired, too. Men with one idea of what beauty is, this will open their minds to different ideas of beauty. (Just Wright) is about having a relationship with someone that’s not based on just looks.” 

Long story short: Just Wright is a Cinderella story set against the backdrop of the NBA, a grown-folk version of Love & Basketball. NBA all-star Scott McKnight, played by Common, falls in love with Morgan, a superficial, gold-digging glamazon looking for fame and status.