There is more to black people than Christianity, incest, rape, drugs, poverty, and cursing mammies. Before Tyler Perry, we had films like Love Jones or Mo’ Better Blues in our homes without an omniscient Christian background. Is it too much to expect more contemporary diversity?
Arielle Loren, Clutch Magazine
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Over the weekend( May 7-8), Bishop T.D. Jakes' Jumping the Broom hit box offices just in time for black families to celebrate love and Mother's Day. Although the storyline closely resembled a Tyler Perry film, minus Madea, at least the characters were multidimensional in social hierarchy.
However, it seems that contemporary black films, in the mainstream, keep following the same formula: Christianity, a bit of comedy, borderline coonery, a simplistic love story, and a stereotypical depiction of black poverty. Perhaps, this is a result of major distribution deals going to Tyler Perry or similar filmmakers with a strong Christian fan base. Or do black people only want to see black Christian love?
In real life, black love is not a monolithic entity. We love as Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, amongst other spiritual beliefs. As the art of filmmaking should inspire originality and bring to life untold stories, it is disappointing to solely see black Christian love continuously played on screen.
Our films have become stagnant, ignoring the numerous stories of black love and its various manifestations. If black love is not heterosexual and Christian, the film won’t make it beyond the independent circle. Where is the mainstream distribution for non-Christian black love stories? Heterosexual black Christians are not the only demographic that falls in love or gets married.