The Root's very own Saaret E. Yoseph scribed a provocative piece today about the depiction of African-American men in bromance films. In the last few years Hollywood and indie filmmakers have been providing audiences with angst-filled, politically incorrect depictions of white men suffering from arrested development and a need for a man hug or BFF. From the indie favorite Hump Day to I Love You, Man with Paul Rudd and Rashida Jones men expressing their inner-homo has been on the rise, getting laughs and making bucks. However, Saaret Yoseph introduces a glitch in the bromance game: black men aren't getting their fair share of man hugs. Yoseph writes:
"But what happens when one of the bros is a brother? So far, nothing good. Bromanticism has been unkind to “the black friend.” We’ve seen plenty of funny moments, but most at the black buddy’s expense."
Yoseph hit the nail on the Hollywood head, baby. I would also add that Hollywood hasn't yet embraced the idea that black men can be stationary fixtures of emotional support. It's fine as long as black men serve as the urban homie who provides occasional relationship advice, in three comedic scenes or less. But the idea of a black man and a white man exploring homo-emotional latency with one another is as farfetched as programming an entire season of black shows on ABC. There's just too much social and political baggage when it comes to black male characters. Now it's cool-breezy to have a 7 foot black transvestite or finger-snapping hairdresser blow through a bromance film and send the laugh meter through the roof. But an actual full-fledged black guy? A full-fledged emotionally-vulnerable black guy who suffers from arrested development and a need for a man hug, well, not so much. I have a sneaky feeling that black audiences aren't ready for that either.
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.