8 of the Best Black Romance Movies Through the DecadesFeb 14, 2021 09:57AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
None of the highest grossing romantic comedies of all time center on two Black leading characters, but there are Black romantic films that showcase love just as pure as that of Noah and Allie's in The Notebook. Some of the most memorable Black films are romance movies.
Tracy (Diana Ross), an aspiring designer from the slums of Chicago puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world's top designers. She finds her big break after being discovered as a model by a successful, fashion photographer in Rome, Italy. All the fame leads to her having to choose between the man she loves or her newfound success.
Mississippi Masala (1991)
After Mina's (Sarita Choudhury) Indian family is ousted from their home in Uganda by dictator Idi Amin, they relocate to Mississippi to start a new life. Mina falls for Demetrius (Denzel Washington), a young carpet cleaner, despite the protestations of their families over their racial difference. Having to choose between family and love, Mina and Demetrius run away together.
Poetic Justice (1993)
This film features Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur and tells the story of a poet, Lucky, hesitant to open up her heart after dealing with a recent loss. She soon falls for an aspiring musician, Justice, during a cross-country road trip to Oakland. Over the course of the trip, the pair realize they share the grief that living and losing in South Central can bring, and they still carry the residue of what it means to continue life once a loved one is murdered.
Love Jones (1997)
An aspiring writer Nina Mosley (Nia Long) and poet Darius Lovehall (Larenz Tate) hit it off after meeting in a Chicago club. Their passion for similar interests can turn into a real romance, but past relationships threaten their budding romance. While trying to figure out if they've got a "love thing", they hang out with their friend, talking about love and sex. Then Nina tests the strength of Darius' feelings and sets a chain of romantic complications into motion.
The Best Man (1999)
At the helm of this A-list ensemble cast is Taye Diggs, who plays a writer who pens a revealing novel based on the lives of his best friends. Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) is on top of the world after his debut novel is selected for Oprah Winfrey's coveted book club. But when he serves as the best man at his friend's wedding, he fights to keep the book under wraps because the book seems to mirror their undergrad experience and the friends begin to see their secrets in its pages.
Love and Basketball (2000)
Definitely an iconic Black film, Love and Basketball follows the story of two childhood friends who slowly begin to fall for each other, all while chasing their dream to become professional basketball players. Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps), fall in love as teens but their basketball careers take them down different paths and the couple must struggle to keep their relationship alive.
This Oscar-winning film follows three distinct times in the life of Chiron (Trevante Rhodes), a young Black man growing up in Miami who experiments with his sexuality as he faces countless life setbacks. It’s a first for Black romance movies, showcasing the complexity of love for Black gay men.
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
This movie directed by acclaimed director Barry Jenkins is an adaptation of a 1970s novel by James Baldwin, where a young woman (Kiki Layne) hopes to achieve the American Dream and start her life with her fiancé Fonny (Stephan James). Unfortunately, their relationship proves to be unbreakable after Fonny is arrested for a crime he didn't commit.
Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.
She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.