Where Are All the Black Rom-Coms This Summer?

In the summer months, all I want to do is find a nice air-conditioned space—be it the theater or my living room—and watch a romantic comedy with all the trimmings: a cute meet, gorgeous leads, a big declaration of love at the climax and of course, plenty of could-never-afford-that fashion (even though our romantic heroine doesn’t have the budget for her own expensive but ridiculously attainable wardrobe!). But as I check Fandango or flip from one streaming channel to the next, finding the latest romantic comedy with Black leads comes up pretty empty-handed.

Black romantic comedies have been made throughout the years; ones that come to mind include The Best Man, Just Wright and Brown Sugar, just to name a few. But it feels like we haven’t had a frothy, trauma-need-not-apply-here rom-com in the 2020s (and through a pandemic when we could have used it most), akin to the recent theatrical release of Anyone But You or Irish Wish, part of Netflix’s slate of Lindsay Lohan comeback comedy films. I want those films starring our people, and Lupita Nyong’o does too.

“What I love about romantic comedies is they allow us to fantasize about an idyllic, unabashedly romantic experience—we are all seeking love in one way or another,” the A Quiet Place: Day One actress tells EBONY.

“A rom-com is a way to just delight in that moment when two people find each other, the serendipity involved. And, uh, you see two people overcome great odds and end up together. Romcoms are traditionally happy endings. I feel like we could all use a few more of those in our lives right now.”

And yes, I need to see more of these types of films with people who look like Nyong’o. “As a dark-skinned black woman, I crave seeing people like me loved on, I do,” she exclaims. “So I wanna be that person.”

So, here’s my call to Hollywood: Make more Black romantic comedies. I’m ready. Lupita’s ready. And there’s a global audience out there ready as well. So start making rom-com films with Black stars that are, as Nyong’o puts it, full of “joy and levity and buoyancy and whimsy.” We’re here and waiting.

Updated: July 5, 2024 — 3:02 pm