Black Love and the 90s

The Movies

The rise of black stars in both TV and Movies followed and characters played by Cuba Gooding in Jerry McGuire, Omar Epps and Morris Chestnut, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Queen Latifah showed us that black love stories existed. Many reflected this in their own lives and celebrity magazines began to show real life couples many of whom are still together.

My only hesitation is that I don’t know one romantic comedy from the 90s that I liked. Misogyny was rife and it was about what could you get commissioned. Also Black American humour was evolving so a lot of the jokes were typically homophobic or sexist. I tried though. Goodness knows I tried (Wayans Brothers, anything with Jada Pinkett and Flex, Spike Lee Joints which were more political)

The films were a little difficult to love but, we loved them because they were for us. The majority reflected the hood and the violence of that life. Fair but not that easy to relate to in Hertfordshire or some suburbia. But then towards the end of the decade you started to see the emergence of the romance with films like Love Jones. It’s a shame that there weren’t more of them but the reality is they didn’t think they could make money from black audiences with those sorts of movies.

Disclaimer that whilst a lot of people LOVE these movies I still struggled with the lack of African featured, darker shades or feminist narratives but that’s a personal thing. I still watch those movies because representation matters.

90s Dating

Dating hit a sweet spot in the 90s. Influenced by all the media m people believed that black love existed and that it wasn’t an inferior aspiration to being with someone white. I mean The Cosby show was the 80s but that was an era where a lot of the successful Black Men dated white or white passing as a sign of having made it into the mainstream. An acceptance of black as enough.

Lyrics were about the dating journey. Calling you and wining and dinign you as opposed to overtly sexual. It was an era of romance which, similar to that Motown time actually taught people how to treat each other. I maintain that most people learn how to date through the music they listen to and how to fuck through the porn that they watch. It stands to reason therefore that even if you were listening to rap you were more likely to be singing about how much booty a girl had and celebrating your objectification of her body than the later songs  

Black Love

Thanking the 90s Pioneers

Whilst some Rap videos are still misogynistic and light skinned focused there are counter balanced. RnB Stars were crooning about love so hard that we felt it. This is what Teddy Riley and Babyface created in different ways . It resonated with the audiences who were hungry for stories and songs that reflected their souls. Our lives had been visualised. Videos were hot and yes, here was still a leaning to lighter women but it a little better than before.  The TV series on OWN called Black Love demonstrates how Black Love still lives on in celebrities today. I believe that a 90s dating heart is what most of us secretly still seek.  

And so, when you’re dating you need to find someone who believes in the magic of the 90s. Someone who believes in a purer love and fundamentally that’s what we all want. Happy Black Loving!

© Chelsea Black 2020

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