9 Amazing Black Romance Movies

Photo: David Bornfriend/A24/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock.
Intersectionality is about more than the convergence of multiple identities. It’s also about how those identities impact people’s ability to prosper and flourish in their lives. I think the fact that Black History Month overlaps with Valentine’s Day presents us with an opportunity to really reflect on that. During the time of year when way too many people are thinking about relationships, there is an opportunity to think about how Blackness impacts the love lives of African-Americans.
Any good, Black romance film is sure to take this into consideration by giving just as much attention to the extraneous details of lovers’ lives as it does to how they feel about each other. All of my favorite Black romantic classics either directly or indirectly call larger themes into question. They are more than love stories, they are musings on heteronormativity, Black masculinity and femininity, family, etc. And I’ve made a list of them just for you.
Advertisement
These are the Black romance movies that will make your fist rise, your head nod, and your heart melt at the same damn time.
It's Black History Month, but at Refinery29, we believe in celebrating Black voices, Black art, and Black women 365 days of the year. Follow us on Instagram at @r29unbothered for more on issues that affect Black women's everyday lives.
1 of 9
She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
Not all great love stories end with a monogamous couple finding bliss in each other. Instead, She’s Gotta Have It offered another perspective on what a love life can look like for a 20-something Black girl in Brooklyn. In the case of Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns), it’s unapologetically juggling three lovers whom she connects with on different levels.
2 of 9
Poetic Justice (1993)
This is the film that made box braids mainstream. Janet Jackson plays Justice, a stylist and secret poet who reluctantly falls for the mail guy (Tupac Shakur. Yes, that Tupac.) The film explores domestic violence, and like many other films of the era, the untapped creative potential of Black youth in the wake of community violence. A predecessor to Lemonade, Jackson reads poetry by Maya Angelou throughout the film.
Advertisement
3 of 9
Jason’s Lyric (1994)
Compared to his brother who was recently released from prison, Jason (Allen Payne) is a saint. He works hard and falls for lyric (Jada Pinkett) when she comes into his place of work. They both want an escape from their life of violence, but Jason’s insistence on keeping his brother from getting deeper into a life of a crime may put him in the crosshairs of a violent trainwreck waiting to happen.
4 of 9
Love Jones (1997)
Two of the era’s Black heartthrobs, Nia Long and Larenz Tate, have undeniable chemistry in what is still one of the sexiest movies I’ve ever seen. Darius and Quincy hit it off and get it on the night they meet, but both of them are dealing with past situations and the burden of what the future holds.
5 of 9
Love & Basketball (2000)
The only thing to ever compete with their mutual love of basketball is Quincy (Omar Epps) and Monica’s (Sanaa Lathan) love for each other. Evident since they were pre-teens, the two of them struggled to find their footing in high school, college, and eventually professional basketball while trying to make room for each other. The stakes are high for both of them, and if you’ve never recreated the scene in which Monica challenges Quincy to a one-on-one game, you’ve never had a proper high school love.
6 of 9
Brown Sugar (2002)
The next time you hear someone complain about the friend zone, sit them down to watch Brown Sugar. Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) is the editor-in-chief for a hip-hop magazine, and Dre (Taye Diggs) is a rap A&R for a record company. They’ve been friends since childhood, and it stays that way through Dre’s wedding and Sidney’s proposal. Sometimes it’s a lifelong friendship that leads to the best relationships. The entire film is also an ode to hip-hop with an amazing soundtrack. It’s a romance flick for the culture.
7 of 9
Beyond the Lights (2014)
We love celebrities, and we love their relationships even more. This underrated film took us behind the scenes of the life of a deeply trouble pop star. After a suicide attempt, she falls for the security officer who rescued her, and she finally dares to use her voice the way she wants to as a result.
8 of 9
Southside With You (2016)
Being the first Black President of the United States is only one part of Barack Obama’s lasting legacy. What is just as important to his iconicity his role as Michelle Obama’s husband. Southside with You tells the story of America’s first couple on their first date. That fateful day on the Southside of Chicago marks the beginning of their love story, but also the budding political career of one of the most important figures in political history.
9 of 9
Moonlight (2016)
There aren’t nearly enough Black movies that focus on LGBTQ+ relationships, let alone ones that interrogate the link between masculinity and sexuality like this Oscar-winning film did. It’s not a traditional love story by any means, but damnit it’s worth it.
Advertisement

More from Movies

Watch

R29 Original Series