This is a must see film! Especially for those Black Love couples out there that may want to see a good film this valentines!
When trying to determine what Black Love is, I assumed (alongside others I’m sure) that it is a description of two Black people in love. However, ‘Black Love' is 'Self Love’ and I think that definition is epic.
Who you love can be anyone just as long as first… you love yourself!
Directed by Barry Jenkins of Moonlight and written by the iconic James Baldwin this film breaks the fast paced, typically cast conventions that Hollywood usually presents.
It felt more like an Indie movie – that focused on intimacy; how we relate to others (even when from the same community); as well as paying attention to how people of colour are shot and framed.
It’s 1970’s and we meet Tish and Fonny – an African Amercian couple from Harlem, New York…Beale Street to be exact. They grew up together. Played together, bathed together before falling in love... together.
It was so refreshing to see two Black people in love without the usual subliminal message of cheating and ratchetness, and In that way it reminded me of Starrs parents in THUG Life.
Without spoiling the major tragic moment in the movie (which I guess every movie has to have to be a movie) If Beale Street Could Talk flicks between the development of Tish and Fonny’s relationship, racial innuendos and how Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.
The racial innundos also bleeds over to their family life and we see a clear case of Colorism and assimilation by Fonny’s mother and sisters towards Tish. It’s these internal issues of war and hate that I most appreciated and so typical of Baldwin… adding a contextual theme of tension rather than tension just being active. I particularly loved and appreciated this as it is something I definitely reflect and relate to. With my loc journey now 6 and a half months in I often wonder what type of family will accept me. As well as what type of mother would ‘allow’ her son to marry me… a dark skinned, loc’d, opinionated woman.
My favorite feature of the film though was the gentle and beautiful way it dealt with the black body.
Unlike Between The World and Me [a father’s love letter to his son about how the world abuses and destroys the black body] If Beale Street Could Talk celebrates our body and forces its audience to see more than our richly melinated exterior.
I also felt it successfully attempts to reverse the years of psychological programming to see dark skin as monstrous, whorish, only physical and unkempt. And Tish’s dress style and Afro is a symbol of virtue, softness, patience and royalty. Staying on the subject… object of the Black Body, for the first time in my life I understood the importance of a sex scene. I 100% enjoyed watching Tish and Fonny make love. With soft jazz playing in the background, and an intimacy and sensativety that you seldom see two Black people on television show towards each other - my antennas went up - as I was reminded that I too was a sexual being. Not designed to be f’d in a music video, but one that deserves to be held, looked at and… made love to!
If Beales Street Could Talk it would have prepared us for the onslaught of murders by police, the injustice of the prison service today, and the racial prejudices that continue to exist not just in America but around the world - stopping Black people universally to meet, love and pro-create.
If Beale Street Could Talk is out now! Catch it in cinema’s near you.