In my debut novel the heroine is Ella Jenkins. She is the epitome of Black Girl Magic. She is fire and ice. Beautiful, smart, and loyal. She is using her magic to change the world one public school at a time. She is also using it to drive King Kofi Ajyei wild. She does not suffer fools nor arrogant kings well; their first meeting proves that! Her character is my Spelman Sisters, girlfriends, and aunties wrapped up into one persona.
Conversely, today’s media portrays Black women as overwhelmingly difficult creatures who are desperate for a man. Any man with a sports or rap contract will do. In current movies, TV shows, and books; we are successful but alone. We are educated, but bitches if we demand excellence. We are beautiful but misused and overlooked. We are not portrayed as the heroines we really are. Therefore, we don’t get the same basic shine as White women in the pages of romance novels and romantic comedies. This is a narrative I intend to combat with every stroke of my pen.
Please Note, it was not always like this. When I was a teenager and young adult in the nineties and early aughts; Black women were portrayed as goddesses that successful men both worshipped and eventually attained. I dreamed about graduating from college, landing that dream job, travelling and being completely loved. I dreamed of bringing my whole self into a relationship and being loved for it. I saw my dreams vividly in romantic comedies that did not just tolerate my Black presence as the humorous sidekick. I was the main event. Today I want to pay homage to my top four Black heroines of the nineties and early aughts!.
1. Maxine Shaw, Living Single
Who is She: Maxine Shaw was the “maverick.” A successful New York Lawyer her character was strong, sexy, and smart. Her vice was that she never let her emotions lead her. She kept her heart closed. But Kyle Barker had the wits to match her and the heart to hold her.
Scene: Best Seduction EVER!!!
2. Nina Mosley, Love Jones
Who is She: Nina Mosley was a beautiful Renaissance woman. A photographer who had to battle sexism and racism in her field. Coming off of heartbreak from a man hat didn’t respect her art or talents. She meets Darius Lovehall, a poet, who provides amazing sex and the support she needs to allow herself to take flight.
Scene: Best Grovel EVER!!!!
3. Monica Wright, Love and Basketball
Who is She: Monica Wright was the ultimate athlete. What some may call being a tomboy; she called being a baller! Q was the baller next door that stole her heart. My favorite line of this movie is when Monica tells Q she never asked him to choose between her and basketball…so why was he asking that of her? Feminism at its best.
Scene: Best OH! You’re not just the girl next door moment EVER!!!!
4. Sidney 'Sid' Shaw, Brown Sugar
Who is she: Sidney Shaw was an Editor for The Source (MY DREAM JOB!) She’s been best friends with Dre, an A&R Executive since they were ten. Fast forward almost twenty years later and Dre is marrying Reese. Sidney is in love with Dre but says nothing. Reese cheats on Dre. Sidney Consoles him. Sidney and Dre DO IT!! I dare you to find a better “I knew you were the one the whole time, please make love to me until I can’t see straight...OH SHIT! What did we do scene.” I’ll wait…
Scene: Best I’ve Been Waiting My Whole Life to Make Love to You Scene EVER!!!