Sanaa Lathan Might Not Be Who We Think She Is

Sanaa Lathan
Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Neighborhood Awards
Sanaa Lathan
Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Neighborhood Awards

A few days ago the Internet, especially the black quarters, was aflame with disbelief and WTF-ness at the news that, yes, Sanaa Lathan was indeed dating Karim Kharbouch, aka French Montana.



The jokes only flew from there, with people questioning why such a refined, educated, well-to-do woman would date such an opposites-attract specimen like Mr. Shot Caller. I don't know much about French Montana aside from his penchant for recycling dope hip-hop songs from yesteryear and turning them into new age hits, but he does have a good ear for beats. This is probably why he's signed to Diddy. Puffy clearly knows a thing or two about recycling. Bad Boy loves the trees.

Point is, I don't know if French is a good guy or a bad one. I don't know if his rap persona is a charade (most likely) and behind closed doors he's a real sweetheart. I assume that given his current profession, he's probably charming as hell, and that's likely how he got Sanaa in the first place.

While I know nothing about French Montana, I have to realize that, you know what? I don't really know anything about Sanaa Lathan, either. I know what I think of her. I think—based on her movies, mostly—that she's this seminal woman and thinker with so much to offer who is above … something. I think, in my mind, I view her as some sort of woman of refinement who walks on rose petals as a rule and would only date somebody I think highly of, or at least not somebody who would make me question how in the hell it happened.

It was the same type of joke that Chris Rock made about Jermaine Dupri dating Janet Jackson, as if Jermaine were some poor man's budget boyfriend who somehow slid into Janet's DMs (or would have, if Instagram and Twitter were a thing back then) while the rest of the available, and more suitable, populace of men collectively blinked. J.D. wasn't good enough for Janet … to us.

It was the same with Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. We think these women are great catches, so the men they date should also live up to that standard that we believe them to be—except we don't actually know any of these women. At all. We all blamed Bobby for Whitney's downfall, when it was Whitney who took Bobby down that staircase toward destruction.


I remember when I found out that Lil Wayne and Lauren London were expecting; my opinion of her plummeted like that apple that hit Newton. Then I took a step back. I didn't then, and still don't know, a damn thing about Lauren London. She's not even a good actress. She's just pretty, so I assumed she was above dating men with gold teeth in their mouth on purpose.

But then every so often you read an interview in which these women tell you about the kinds of men they want, and you realize that either they want to live out some hood fantasy or maybe, just maybe, they ain't above any of this s—t.


Pretty doesn't make anybody worthy of s—t more than anybody else.

This is very likely the case with Sanaa Lathan. She's hot. Is she a good actress? She's pretty good. Is her background one that makes it seem like she'd date a lawyer or a doctor, etc.? Yeah. But it turns out she likes French's Montana, and that's probably more because of him than her anyway. Maybe he's the greatest guy ever. Maybe all that stuff women claim to want from men, he does for her. Hell, maybe she loves her some rappers and their swagger, and she watched him walk into a room and was like, "That one; want him." Maybe, just maybe, their connection is real and not based on whatever it is we think she is and he isn't.


Or maybe she's just ratchet at heart. And dating former (alleged) drug dealers and dudes who beef with guys named Max B and date Kardashians is right up her alley. Maybe all she wants is to walk into her house and have him throw a stack of $1s at her ass while she's cookin' in the kitchen. Maybe she is his trap queen. Doesn't mean she's not a great woman and we shouldn't want the best for her, but maybe that's exactly what she found in French.

Plus, let's be real. Any woman who made this song is probably more likely to date French Montana than Neil deGrasse Tyson anyway. Because this woman—yes, Sanaa Lathan—made a song called "Emotional" featuring Dej Loaf, who isn't exactly MC Lyte, whose opening line is, "I don't really deal with emotional n—gers … " and made a whole song complaining about the type of s—t that women say they love when they really like somebody.


She could have dated a pilot. Could have dated a doctor. It could have been a pimp; it could have been a mobster. It could have been a mack or it could have been a dope boy. But homie, matter of fact, she wanted to date a motherf—cking coke boy.

She's jinglin', baby. Go 'head, baby.

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Panama Jackson is the co-founder and senior editor of He lives in Washington, D.C., and believes the children are our future.