I have a confession. I am a romantic sap who loves watching romantic movies as often as possible. And while I try to diversify my movie viewing here and there, I always find comfort in my Black romance movies. The representation of Black love is important, and society needs to see the vastness of our love narratives as frequently as they can. Like all people, we love in every form and expression, and something radical happens when we see our stories onscreen drenched in rich, melanin, perspective.
No love story is perfect, though, and that’s why I find myself adoring and relating to movies like Beyond The Lights, Just Wright and Love & Basketball, which don’t show romance as a simple thing, but something that takes work and can sometimes end sadly. Each of these films are must-sees, in my opinion, and in addition to simply being great movies, they’re reminders of just how complex love and romance can be.
So, without further ado, here are 18 of the funniest, most heartfelt, and most loved romance Black films around, all of which I think that you should watch ASAP.
1. Two Can Play That Game
This movie is a prime example of why revenge is typically not the best idea. Shante Smith (Vivica A. Fox) has a happy relationship with boyfriend Keith Fenton (Morris Chestnut), but it’s tested when she sees him out with one of his female co-workers. So she makes a “10-day plan” to get her man back in check, but it backfires when he catches on to her. Two Can Play That Game can be streamed on iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.
2. Carmen Jones
Carmen (Dorothy Dandridge) is a passionate, sexy woman who lures a handsome soldier named Joe (Harry Belafonte) away from his girlfriend, played by Olga James. However, Carmen soon gets tired of Joe and drops him for someone else. The spinning love triangle will have you on your toes for the movie’s entirety. Carmen Jones is available to stream on YouTube and iTunes.
3. Beyond The Lights
Pop superstar Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) struggles with superstardom and not having a voice about her career. She tries to take her life, but a cop named Kaz (Nate Parker) stops her. Kaz ends up helping her find her voice and authentic self. To see this film you can watch it on YouTube, Amazon and Google Play.
4. Poetic Justice
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One reason to watch this movie: Tupac. This movie shows just how talented the late rapper really was. In it, he plays a know-it-all mail man named Lucky who falls in love with a hairdresser, Justice (Janet Jackson), who loves finding poetry in her everyday life. Jackson’s performance alongside Tupac’s is complete cinematic magic. Poetic Justice is available on Amazon and Vudu.
5. Love & Basketball
Throughout high school, I thought I wanted to play basketball in hopes that a love story like this would unfold for me. Monica (Sanna Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are not afraid to compete with each other, on and off the basketball court. Despite all the messy drama that happens between the two, in the end, their mutual love for basketball is a testament of their love. Love & Basketball is on YouTube, Amazon and iTunes.
6. How Stella Got Her Groove Back
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40-year-old, recently divorced Stella (Angela Bassett) is looking to get away from the humdrum of everyday life. So she and her friend Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg) plan a trip to Jamaica to soak in some sun. On her travel adventure as a single woman, Stella finds new love with a handsome 20-something (Taye Diggs). How Stella Got Her Groove Back is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon and YouTube for streaming.
7. Their Eyes Were Watching God
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Based on Zora Neale Hurston’s novel of the same name, Janie Starks (Halle Berry) struggles between temptation and her morals when she falls in love with a young man named Tea Cake (Michael Ealy). Their Eyes Were Watching God is available on YouTube.
8. Something New
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Something New is about a beautiful love affair between Kenya McQueen (Sanaa Lathan) and free-spirited landscaper Brian Kelly (Simon Baker). This film pushed the envelope in Hollywood by tackling the intricate hurdles of interracial relationships and Black class. You can watch this movie on iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.
9. Brown Sugar
Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) and Dre (Taye Diggs) have shared a love of Hip Hop since the beginning of their friendship as children in Brooklyn — but they also have a love for one another, as they discover during the film. You can watch all of this Brown Sugar sweetness on Google Play, iTunes and Amazon.
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Eddie Murphy stars in this romantic comedy as a playboy who is trying his best to make a good impression on his new boss, who is played by Robin Givens. Soon enough, his tried-and-true methods are tested when a new woman (Halle Berry) comes his way to out-play him. Boomerang is available to watch on Vudu, Amazon and YouTube.
11. Love Jones
This movie will make your heart melt over and over again. The chemistry between Darius (Larenz Tate) and Nina (Nia Long) is undeniable, and Love Jones explores the idea that it’s often hard to know if the connection between two people can go past being just friendly to being true soul mates. You can watch Love Jones on YouTube and Amazon.
12. Just Wright
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Just Wright is a personal favorite for me because this movie is the story of my life. I’ve been labeled as the “close homegirl” by some guys several times instead of a prospective love interest because of their interest in one of my friends, only to later have them tell me that I’m “wifey” material. The same thing happens to Queen Latifah’s Leslie in this movie. Leslie is a physical therapist who falls for her pro NBA client Scott (Common). However, everything isn’t love at first sight for these two. Scott only realizes his love for Leslie after taking her out of the friend zone and being dumped by her cousin Morgan (Paula Patton). If you’re a true love underdog, this movie is for you. Just Wright is available to stream on Amazon, Google Play, YouTube and iTunes.
13. Jason’s Lyric
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Jason (Allen Payne) battles with the street life and his feelings over falling in love with the older Lyric (Jada Pinkett-Smith). He finds himself trying to help his brother stay on a straight path after getting out of jail, while also realizing that “love is courage” in his unpredictable life. You can watch Jason’s Lyric on Vudu.
14. Deliver Us From Eva
Eva’s (Gabrielle Union) family pays Ray (LL Cool J) to date her, bt what begins as an arrangement quickly turns around when the two actually fall madly in love. Deliver Us From Eva is available on Amazon and Google Play.
15. The Best Man
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This 1999 comedy will have you reminiscing about college and the old flames from that time. In The Best Man, college friends come together for the wedding of Mia (Monica Calhoun) and Lance (Morris Chestnut), and during their meet-up, old lustful memories are brought up through Harper Stewart’s (Taye Diggs) new book, which causes a lot of ruckus. The Best Man is available iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.
16. Why Did I Get Married?
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A couples retreat turns into a place where major troubles arise. The star-studded cast of Janet Jackson, Tyler Perry, Malik Yoba, Jill Scott and several others make this movie, about the reasons why married couples make the decisions to stay married through some of life’s most difficult circumstances, a must-see. Why Did I Get Married? is available on Google Play, Amazon and iTunes.
17. A Thin Line Between Love And Hate
Ladies’ man Darnell Wright (Martin Lawrence) is use to getting any woman he wants. Even though he really loves Mia (Regina King), he can’t help himself when he meets a rich woman named Brandi (Lynn Whitfield). After trying to ditch Brandi, though, Darnell is in for a dangerous ride when it turns out that Brandi will do anything to get revenge o him. A Thin Line Between Love and Hate is available on Amazon and Vudu.
18. Waiting To Exhale
In this film, four friends, played by the late Whitney Houston, Angela Basset, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon, all try their luck at finding love. For two of them, it’s all about finding self love, while the others find out what true romantic love really entails. To watch Waiting To Exhale, go to YouTube, iTunes, or Amazon.
A lot of the time, we find ourselves relating to movies that speak to our core no matter how ridiculous the storylines may be. Put some time aside to watch some of these movies. You will definitely find yourself laughing and hoping for true love.