Love Jones is the first review for our Black Love Fest. An authentic qualifier for a “black film” is a movie that is from the perspective of someone living the black experience. Love Jones is that, but it’s also a film that would be universally appreciated because of its love story, friendship, and artisan quality. I love the fact that the movie displays a beautiful black love story without constantly reminding the audience that it is a “black film.”
It is with a smile on my face that I listen to the movie’s opening song, Hopeless. The melody makes me want to cuddle up, and French kiss. Cinematically, the song matches the opening scene of black and white images of real people (non actors). The initial images are of an industrial area with a dreary backdrop of Chicago’s Hyde Park. The images are of non-smiling faces and a neighborhood that depicts poverty. But then there are images of children, friendship, love, and genuine laughter.
The movie opens up with the female main character, Nina (Nia Long), standing by a window while it is raining outside. She is having the typical, “I’m done with men” conversation with her girlfriend, Josie, played by Lisa Carson. The scene then cuts into an evening girls’ night out. Nina and Josie go to The Sanctuary, a poetry spot that features local poets and musicians. The viewer is immediately pulled into the scene of live jazz music while a group of friends are sitting at a table. There are four men: The Writer – Darius (Larenz Tate), Married Intellectual – Savon (Isaiah Washington), The Poet/Showcase Host – Eddie Coles (Leonard Roberts), The Playboy Jerk – Hollywood (Bill Bellamy), and one female, The Dancer – Sheila (Bernadette Speakes). They are at the table joking and laughing and swapping stories on being romanced. Throughout the movie the depth of the characters and their personal struggles are revealed.
The first sexy scene happens when Darius meets Nina at the bar while ordering drinks. The scene is hypnotic: the music, the conversation, the beautiful people, and the instant attraction between Nina and Darius. The chemistry makes you feel embarrassed watching them. Their subtle body language, the nervousness, the blatant flirting, and teasing; it’s all very overwhelming to my senses. Because LJ was in the ’90s, even Darius’s small hoop earring and smoking of a cigarette looks sexy. During Nina and Darius’s dialogue, their friends are at their tables commentating on what they think is happening. Darius fumbles because of his nervousness but decides to redeem himself by getting on the mic and seductively reciting a poem retitled, “A Blues for Nina.” He looks out in the crowd and says, “I am the Blues in your left thigh, trying to become the funk in your right. Who am I? I’ll be whoever you say.” …sexy.
Because of Nina’s recent breakup, she is reluctant to go out with Darius. After a chance encounter at the record store, Darius shows up at Nina’s apartment unannounced and convinces her to go out with him. Put on your helmet, this is where the story moves fast. The story goes through the typical woes of falling in love. Nina is an up-and-coming photographer. Darius is a writer who has saved enough money to take a year off work to finish his first novel. As per Nina, the “timing is bad,” but they go for it anyway. They go out on their first date, and they have sex too soon — causing confusion and insecurities early on. Then Nina plays games to see if Darius cares. It is because of the game playing that Nina goes to New York to get closure with her ex-fiancé, while Darius is left feeling the loss of her. It is with many misunderstandings that Nina and Darius break up a couple of times, move to different cities, Darius finishes his book, and Nina lands an amazing job in New York. Although life still goes on, they are still craving the love that was created when they were together. There are very intimate scenes of them falling in love.
The sex scenes were erotic. There was plenty of skin, long and deep kissing, strip teasing, and so much sensual touching. It’s hard for me to have emotional investment in a movie. But Love Jones made me laugh out loud, smile sentimentally, and feel genuine affection for the characters. This movie reminds me of my love of written word, falling in love, and the discovery of my own sensuality. Love Jones is a provocative penetration of passion, pleasure, and poetry… my favorite things.
Throughout their courtship we are exposed to Chicago’s urban lifestyle and ’90s culture. I am nostalgic when Darius sees Nina at a record store. I am reminded of when I use to go into a record store and play music. There are also other obvious ’90s culture reminders such as house phones (not cell phones), typewriters (not iPads or computers), pagers, smoking in lounges (other than Vegas), taking pictures with a camera (not iPhone), and loose-fitting jeans (that’s right… not skinny jeans). We are also exposed to a popular Chicago dance style — Steppin’. Steppin’ is a very popular dance form similar to swing dance. One of the reasons why black films are important to me is because of the exposure to black culture outside of California. These films give us a rare glimpse into middle class urban areas, where black intellects and professional are the norm and not the exception.
Love Jones is a perfect romantic film. It has a great love story, believable characters and plot, and it connects the viewers regardless of color.
Listen to: Hopeless by Dionne Farris
Watch: Love Jones
Grind to: Sumthin’ Sumthin’ by Maxwell
Try: The Oralgasm Showcase in LA
Writing was my first best friend. In high school I met another one of my best friends and writing partner, Yawo Watts. Everyday we would sit by the lockers writing poetry and songs. Yawo is now a poet and published author of Lemongrass. He hosts a poetry showcase called the Oralgasm. He and his business partner, Reese, put together a sexy, eclectic mix of artists. The night is filled with erotic poetry, music, sexy prizes, a naughty table, sexy snacks, and a night guaranteed to wet your panties or tighten your zipper. In honor of the poetry showcased in LJ, I have included a poem that I wrote to showcase at the next Oralgasm. The title is inspired by my sister from a different mister, Barbara. She says that if all else fails, “Fuck it out.”
F*** IT OUT
Why can’t we just f*** it out?
I need to be cleansed of this craving of you
I need to release it through an orgasm
Created by you
On my lips
I want to feel you
Come close enough for me to feel your breath on my face
Stick your tongue out I’ll meet you half way
Umm, You taste good in my mouth
If we’re going to f*** it out
Look at me
I’m not laying on my back
Pleeeaaase, let’s f*** it out
I want to feel every inch of you
Sliding into to me
Fill me to the hilt
I don’t want to hurt
I just want to feel full
Ummm…f*** it out
Open your eyes
I want you to see this ride
It sounds pretty for us to copulate…BUT
we just need to f*** it out
So now it’s your turn! Enter our poetry contest by bringing out your “inner nasty.” Take the title of my poem above and create your own written word. There is no min or max word count. Just make Will and I pant. Use your imagination and let the title consume you. Post it in the comments below and the person who gets the most replies with the word “ummm,” will win something you can use on your next romantic night out!