My husband was recently asked to be the DP of another project which, aside from having a trailer that had nothing to do with the film, was characterized mostly by what the filmmaker told us was a ‘diverse couple’ that he couldn’t wait to bring to the screen.
The diverse couple you ask? A white woman and a black man.
How very original.
In a world full of romance story lines in every genre, it is disheartening how often times ‘diverse’ couples miss the mark when it comes to showing black couples in TV and film.
Outside of what are considered black films or shows (and even those sometimes), shows and movies that are considered mainstream or “normal” films, aka media that can be watched by majority of Americans with limited gripe…we just don’t see a lot of black couples on screen.
I mean, let’s look for some current shows.
We have Blackish (a black show and a sitcom), with Dre and Rainbow Johnson. This is Us (my fave and a mainstream show) with Randall and Beth Pearson.
We have….uh…Daredevil had that one journalist who was married to a black woman got killed (thanks Karen!!!!).
Thanks a prevalent number of black couples on screen in the 90s and early 2000s, as well as my own parents’ relationship, I grew up knowing I wanted a black man (even if my parents tell you different). Black love is beautiful!
And if you as a black girl didn’t think Dwayne Wayne and Theo Huxtable were cute af when you was growing up, you was lying.
But no one thinks it’s just a tad problematic that I listed like…one black couple on a tv show that’s not a ‘black show’? I mean I’m sure there’s some background black couple on Grey’s Anatomy or something like that, and there were some background black couples during Randall’s younger flashbacks? But that’s it?
And nah. I don’t count Jefferson Pierce and his wife. I don’t count Earn and Van. I don’t count Issa Rae and whoever she’s currently with. I definitely don’t count Cookie and Lucious. And since I’m a season behind on Queen Sugar, I (currently) don’t count none of them Bordelons (except Violet who is engaged, proud of you sis).
None of these are healthy examples of black love.
And one day we’re gonna need to have a lil convo about how black men and black women in LGBT relationships are almost always seen portrayed as the dominant one in the relationship, which reinforces the stereotype about black male dominance in sexuality and how black women lack femininity; and how movies/shows often throw in one black lesbian in an otherwise white cast to fulfill their diversity quota. I’m not the one to start it, but someone is.
Even more disconcerting, I don’t know of any black couples in sci-fi series, aside from Black Panther.
It’s almost as if people don’t see a future for black love. That’s really sad. And these are just the sci fi/action shows and films!
For the record, I like a lot of the couples I just mentioned. Green Lantern and Hawkgirl were the shit growing up, I love Candice Patton and I love how the fandom is in tears, Rey and Finn are cute, as were Mr. and Mrs. Murray.
Plus, I still love Chris Pine from my Princess Diaries days (sue me).
But it does feel like these relationships are being promoted at the expense of black couples?
And I’m sure I’m missing a few black couples here and there (like Creed) but even with exceptions to the rules, there’s a reason why those rules exist. Where is the black love? And an even better question, where is the healthy black love?
When Black-ish teased the end of the fourth season with a possible divorce for Dre and Rainbow, I was glued to my screen. I was seriously fearful that one of only two black relationships would be destroyed in yet another tale of marriage despair. Obviously, not every marriage is perfect. Not only in black relationships, but all relationships. But when you can count on two fingers how many healthy black relationships you see on TV…that’s an issue that we as black creators and black consumers need to demand change for.
Especially since despite issues that black couples go through, a lot of us are still doing our damn best every day to be great representations and change society’s view of us.
And that’s that on that.