Racialicious' Latoya Peterson goes to the movies—not—as she talks about her impressions of the trailer for the new movie, based on the book He's Just Not that Into You. She makes a well-observed point about the role that black women take in mainstream romantic comedies: either the Magic Negress who has all the answers or the woman who never gets the man. Ever.
Not for nothing, but black men don't fair much better, and generally serve the same purpose in mainstream romantic comedies. Consider Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Liscense to Wed, et al. This gets to my beleif that, as far as many say we have come, the fact is that most white folks—most, I said— don't have meaningful realtionships with people of color and this is why 1) we see the same caricature over and over in film and 2) these depictions default to the same well-worn trope, because they only know black folks, as seen on TV. Giving any depth whatsoever to the black sidekick would force the audience to think and not laugh, which negates the purpose of the black sidekick as laugh magnet, not co-star.
I don't subscribe to the idea that cinema has any power to educate or solve societal ills, so I never expect much it, specifically from romantic comedies. I'm still waiting to see a manistream romantic comedy with the complexity of the Hudlin Brothers' Boomerang or Martin Lawrence's unlikely hit A Thin Line Between Love and Hate, both of which I'll be writing about next month over at my film blog, The Screening Room at Black Power.com.
Single Father, Author, Screenwriter, Award-Winning Journalist, NPR Moderator, Lecturer and College Professor. Habitual Line-Stepper