FILM CLASSICS: Love Jones

By Ntombenhle Shezi (@NtombenhleShezi)

Too often I have cringed at depictions of over the top crazy/angry black women as seen in Martin Lawrence’s Big Mama’s House and certain Tyler Perry Movies.  The characters I see in Love Jones, reinforce the “Black is Beautiful” narrative (once proudly declared by Marcus Garvey), something that has always been important to me as a black girl then and as a black woman now, especially in relation to how black bodies are viewed in media.

Director: Theodore Witcher

Cast: Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington, Bill Bellamy, and Lisa Nicole Carson

Love Jones was part of the wave of black romantic dramas coming out in the 90s that looked beyond depicting black characters as being one dimensional.  These movies were also exciting in the way they offered various inter-textual referencing to each other, as if in constant dialogue. As in Love Jones, poetry was at the core of the narrative in John Singleton’s Poetic Justice (1993). Both of the female leads in Love Jones and Brown Sugar go on to work at the iconic publications, Vibe and XXL respectively, that grew to be important platforms for music in the USA.

Love Jones is one of those films that one will always find on their TV screens (Thanks to SABC 1 and eTV). Over the years it seemed to mean different things to me at different times, but one of the reasons why I always go back to Love Jones is because of the depiction of the strong-minded and complex female characters played by Nia Long, Lisa Nicole Carsen and Bernadette L. Clarke.  Too often I have cringed at depictions of over the top crazy/angry black women as seen in Martin Lawrence’s Big Mama’s House and certain Tyler Perry Movies.  The characters I see in Love Jones, reinforce the “Black is Beautiful” narrative (once proudly declared by Marcus Garvey), something that has always been important to me as a black girl then and as a black woman now, especially in relation to how black bodies are viewed in media.

Of course Love Jones would not be complete without the killer soundtrack boasting timeless tracks by Maxwell (Somethin’ Somethin’),  Meshell Ndengo’cello Rush Over (with Marcus Miller on guitar), Groove Theory’s Never Enough (Two words- AMEL LARRIEUX!) and The Fugee’s Sweetest Thing.

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