All Articles Tagged "love jones"

Serious Question: What Happened To The Black Movie Soundtrack Era?

July 15th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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Being the Prince maven that I am, I recently went to an outdoor screening of Purple Rain. It was shown thanks to a summer series in L.A. that brings some of my favorite things together: movies, music, and food.  Storyline aside (nobody watches Purple Rain for the story), watching the film with friends and fellow fans was akin to a collective sing-along.  One woman even brought her tambourine, which she was not at all shy about playing during the movie.  And when the film’s title song came on, a sea of cell phones – the modern-day version of the cigarette lighter, once crucial to the concert-going experience – swayed in the night air.  As I looked around, I couldn’t help but think two things: Damn, these people can’t sing, and There’s a reason Purple Rain and its music still hold up some 30 odd years later

Once upon a time, movies and the music they featured went together like white on rice.  When done right, the combination is like magic. Soundtracks like the previously mentioned Purple Rain, along with films like Love Jones, Boomerang and Waiting To Exhale, to name a few, flew off shelves and launched countless careers.  During the ’90s, in particular, where both comedic and dramatic films about Black love reigned supreme, the strength of a song alone could pull you into the theater. Aside from The Weeknd’s super hit “Earned It” off the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, which was much better received than the movie itself, that aesthetic has virtually disappeared today.  I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss it.

Take Love Jones, the only movie with poetry that most Black millennials can quote word for word.  Beautifully written, shot and acted, the film gave open-mic nights a whole new name and had women jonesing for their own, tailor-made version of Darius Lovehall. Music was a crucial part of the lives of the artistic, intellectual couple that was Nina and Darius. It only made sense that the film’s soundtrack fed off of that, further enhancing its portrayal of a bluesy, honest and not so straight and narrow romance.  Maxwell’s chopped and screwed version of “Sumthin’ Sumthin’” – “Mellosmoothe,” which can best be described as sexy upon sexy upon oh my goodness, was featured on the soundtrack. The song’s original version played in the background as Darius knocked on Nina’s door for the first time, signaling what was to come.  Dionne Farris’ “Hopeless” perfectly summed up their on-again, off-again relationship.  The soundtrack even opened with Larenz Tate performing “Darius’ Blues for Nina” (Brotha To The Night).” Complicated, smooth, moody – the soundtrack was the movie in musical form.

When Angela schooled playboy Marcus Graham on what love is and gave his cheek a good ol’ smack before chucking up the deuces, she told him:  “Love shoulda brought your ass home last night.”  Who better to belt out that heartache and that pain (and that slap) than Toni Braxton?  “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men, Johnny Gill’s “There U Go” and other memorable songs rounded out the platinum-selling Boomerang soundtrack, executive produced by none other than Babyface. The singer and songwriter’s track record when it comes to soundtracks is top of the line.  It’s no wonder Waiting To Exhale’s soundtrack was just as popular and well received.

Waiting To Exhale featured songs performed solely by Black women, which smartly played into the film’s storyline.  Black female friendship was on display, along with the trials and tribulations of finding and maintaining romantic love. There weren’t any other films at the time that served the Black female movie-going audience in quite the same way, which the soundtrack fully reflected.  Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin – a cornucopia of some of the greatest singers we’ve ever known, gave voice to that holding your breath feeling that both the movie and soundtrack’s title spoke to.  The result is a poignant, resounding, sexy, reflective tribute to love and to the people who let us be ourselves and never let us forget it.

To me, great soundtracks do more than accentuate critical moments in a film.  Timeless, they have a life beyond the screen and take meaning in our personal lives.  We play them in good times and bad, intermingling personal memories with the plots and storylines that live on screen, and of characters with whom we love to relate.  The world of entertainment has changed a lot in recent years, but it wouldn’t hurt to experience a new era of this time long past when movies and their respective soundtracks fit together like hand and glove.

I’m Still Looking For A Love Jones: Split Personalities

May 7th, 2015 - By Erica RivaFlowz Buddington
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lovejones

This series happens once a week. In order to understand what’s going on in the series, be sure to read the column, in order. 

I came to a realization.

It seemed like the most competent and trustworthy gentleman in my repertoire was Edwin. He came up with great dates, treated me with respect, and kept it all the way real.

Here’s the thing with some “gentlemen”…

The flaws come when you least expect them.

There are some flaws that are worth staying for; they’re the kind that God allows to grow and augment our beauty. There are others that are completely ridiculous, the kind that time and knowledge should’ve eroded.

With men, I always seem to confront the latter.

Edwin

The culinary class was perfection. I thought Christopher’s hot air balloon ride and winery couldn’t be beaten, but I was wrong.

When a man has his arms around you,

slicing cheese,

while you giggle about the way he holds his knife,

and the instructor informs you that you’re the cutest “couple” he’s ever seen,

you’ll swoon.

Our connection was genuine. My fumbles were his smiles, his excitement was my laughter, the sync was real.

Once we’d left the venue, after trying the scrumptious meal we’d created together, we decided to walk along The High Line.

(For those of you who aren’t based in NYC: The High Line is a train track that’s been renovated into restaurants, gardens, creative events, and so much more.)

Edwin grabbed my hand.

I felt like I was 16.

I raised my brow as if to say: Boy, you better stop, before I marry you.

I think I did actually say that once, during our walk, when he said something smooth and savvy, as he always did. We leaned over the railing at one point and looked out over the city as the sun started to set.

“I love living here.”

I smiled, “Really? I feel quite the opposite. In this moment, I’m good, but anxiety runs rampant through the hustle and bustle. I yearn for peace and quiet.”

He seemed saddened by my notions. “I mistook you for a city girl. Well, I’ll be here for the rest of my life. I’ll continue to tour and see everywhere else, but I’ll always come back to New York City.”

I smiled at him. I still didn’t share his sentiment, but I didn’t want to ruin the moment.

His phone rang, he looked at the caller and appeared startled. He stepped away and said, “I’ve got to take this, I’ll be right back.”

I don’t like to eavesdrop, but it was hard not to hear. He seemed pretty upset.

“I told you to talk to the woman, negotiate! Why is this so difficult?”

“I’ve done all I can do! What else can I offer, at this point?”

“We tried that. No. No. I’m not going back there, not even as a last resort!”

“I’ve got to call you back. YES, I’M OUTSIDE. I’ll call you back.”

He walked back over, and I asked, “Is everything all right?”

He found his smile, from earlier on, and plastered it across his face, “I’m good. Let’s keep walking.”

Trey

Mr. Hot and Cold.

I was so ready to quit this dude.

One day, we were working on a script, and he’s asking me out. The next day, he’s ignoring my calls without the decency of a text to say he’s busy. Ugh.

He called, after a week of being M.I.A., and I picked up reluctantly.

“This is my fourth call,” he spoke rapidly, annoyed at his attempts.

I rolled my eyes. “I’m aware.”

“Why didn’t you answer?”

“I’ve been thinking the same thing, for a week.”

“I’ve been busy.”

“Okay.”

Trey sighed, “Listen, work is stressful right now. I promise things will be different, soon.”

_____________________________

A few days later, I was conversing with one of my colleagues on the way home.

I walked hurriedly alongside her, “I’m headed to the 4, what train are you taking?”

“Same train, but I need to head to the bank first.”

“Oh. Which one?”

“The Chase, right next to it.”

“Oh, that’s my bank too! I’ll follow you. I need to deposit something, anyway.”

“Girl! Have you met Trey?”

Oh, snap.

I feigned ignorance and said, “Is that the tall, lanky one? He’s kind of fine.”

“Kind of? Everyone knows about him, girl. They’re all checking for him. I’ll let you in on a secret though.”

“Okay, I’m listening.”

“He’s all mine. We’ve been talking for weeks, and I think we’re ready for the next step.”

I snickered, “What step is this?”

She looked at me suspiciously. “A relationship. Why is that funny? You don’t think we could be together?”

I lied, “Sure you could! I just didn’t know you were getting serious, with anyone.”

“I didn’t think I would be. I was keeping it quiet, in case it didn’t work out, but I think it is.”

I smiled at her. I was happy for her, but sad at the same time. Just a few days ago, Trey wanted us to be together. Puh-lease. I was dating other folks, so I didn’t mind that he was doing the same. However, he was a sleaze for making each girl feel like she was “the one” when she was one of many.

We walked into the bank together. I wanted to wait in the lobby, but she motioned for me to join her at Trey’s cubicle. Trey was dressed to the nines, as always, and he stared at his keyboard and typed relentlessly. It was after 5, and I was sure he was ready to clock out.

He looked up. For a moment he smiled, but then his smile turned to horror when he realized who stood before him.

My co-worker was so excited to introduce him. “Trey, this is Erica. She works with me. She’s a phenomenal artist and writer, and she’s bringing that to the program she runs.”

He smiled at me and squeaked out a hello…

Until next time!

Rivaflowz is an educator and freelance writer, living in New York. You can read her first dating series “In The Meantime” and her fiction, at Rivaflowz.com.

I’m Still Looking For A Love Jones: Relationship Compromise Or Compromising Relationships

March 26th, 2015 - By Erica RivaFlowz Buddington
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Looking For A Love Jones: Relationship Compromise

This series happens once a week. In order to understand what’s going on in the series, be sure to read the column, in order. 

The Best Man, 1999, was another classic. The tale of betrayal amidst friendship and the past interfering with the present. Harper’s novel causes contention with Lance, his best friend.

I thought about this movie, while reflecting on my current situation with Marsha. I could understand if she’d been in a relationship with Edwin or they’d just been on several dates. I might’ve even felt bad if she’d told me that she liked him, when we first met him. However, I found myself not feeling guilty at all. She’d given me permission. Her exact words, the night we saw him spinning, were “go ahead.” It wasn’t fair that I had to leave him alone, because of her sudden realization.

Here’s a little background information…

 Edwin

For the next few weeks, Edwin and I spent time together on and off. He was a pleasure to have around: great conversationalist, intuitive, and innovative. When he wasn’t touring, we visited museums, went to local shows, cooked together, and found ourselves avoiding our neighborhood, because Marsha lived nearby.

My birthday was on the horizon and despite the fact that our friendship had been awkward lately, I wanted to have my best friend by my side. I sent a flyer out to all of my friends and Marsha was the first to respond. She wanted to do my makeup and help me pick out a dress for the occasion. (She’d accidentally become my personal stylist, due to my tomboy tendencies.) I obliged and we planned excitedly, leaving our issues behind.

Or so I thought…

On my birthday, after finding the perfect red dress and picking out a great restaurant, we headed home to get my makeup started. She pulled out all of her tools and smiled down at me, every time she applied a different aspect.

Looking For A Love Jones: Relationship Compromise

The birthday dress…simple Jane. :)

 

I was holding my phone in my lap and it started to vibrate. When she went to check her bag for mascara, I opened my text messages to find one from Edwin.

“Happy Birthday, beautiful! I know you’re hanging with your girls tonight. Do I get to celebrate with you, tomorrow?”

My entire face lit up and I was eager to text back, so eager I didn’t see Marsha hovering over me, looking down on the text.

“Is that Edwin?”

“Um…yeah. He’s just saying Happy Birthday.”

I closed the text, quickly.

“That was a pretty long message. It didn’t look like just happy birthday to me.”

I didn’t respond. I took the mascara from her hand, told her that I’d apply it myself, and made my way to the bathroom.

We didn’t have enough time to delve into another back and forth about Edwin. We were due to dinner. The car ride was silent, filled with the sounds of Hot97 and the GPS’ voice. I hoped that she’d be over it, by the time we sat down to eat.

The restaurant’s ambience was amazing. My friends all waited by the bar, ecstatic when I walked through the door, and we rushed to the host to seat us for our reservation. The night played out just as I planned it. I invited six friends, from all walks of my life: grade school, college, journalism ventures, and educator colleagues. I wrote a speech for each of them and I told them how important they were and how much it meant for me to spend my night with them. We ordered a ton of food and shared the large dishes, because we couldn’t decide on just one thing. (The menu and pricing was shared weeks prior to, so every one could be prepared.) When the check came, my childhood friend, who was now an accountant, was the first to grab it. She always wanted to calculate the bill, whenever we went out to dine.

“We’ll split it five ways, so Erica won’t have to pay for herself.”

I’d already had my card out, but I sure didn’t mind. Everyone nodded in agreement…

Everyone…except…Marsha, “I didn’t agree to that.”

Shana, the accountant, spoke again, “We know you didn’t, we just decided.”

Marsha looked annoyed, “I’d only accounted for myself. I can’t do it.”

Raven, my most outspoken friend, was pissed, “That’s fine, it’s whatever. You pay for what you ordered and we’ll split the rest.”

The entire situation felt uncomfortable. I put my card down, “We’ll split it six ways guys; it’s not that serious.”

I was upset with Marsha too, but I didn’t want this to ruin the night. My other five friends were clearly disgruntled and pushed their cards on the bill, while giving Marsha death stares.

After our dinner, we took pictures outside. There was a bench sitting in front of a well-lit store and Raven insisted that we all take pictures in front, “Let’s all stand behind the bench and have Erica sit on it. Let’s surround her with love.”

Everyone started to gather behind the bench when Marsha finally spoke again, “Why? I want to sit on the bench too. I’d like to be front and center, in this picture too.”

Raven groaned, we had a passerby snap the photo, and four out of six of the women decided not to follow us to the second half of the activities, but to head home.

“We’ll meet you at your house for the sleepover, later.”

Sarcasm: I wonder why.

Marsha’s discontent was clear and she made it no secret. After partying all night long and heading back to my house for a sleepover, which Marsha decided not to attend, I woke up to my entire friend cohort sitting up discussing something.

I yawned and smiled at them, dispersed throughout my living room in socks and comfy wear, “Good morning, guys! Why are you all up so early?”

Shana spoke first, “Yeah. We’ve all decided…Marsha has to go.”

Welp.

Finding The Perfect Verse Over A Tight Beat…Or Picking The Best Man Option

February 19th, 2015 - By Erica RivaFlowz Buddington
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Perfect Verse Over A Tight Beat

In order to understand what’s going on in the series, be sure to read the column from last week, here.

If I had to choose, at that very moment, I couldn’t.

I was too afraid to miss out on something, anything. Insecurity is the damndest thing. It will crawl out of you at the most inopportune moments, when just seconds before, your crown was clinging to your afro.
Christopher was clingy; sometimes it was endearing, other times it was annoying.

Trey was inconsistent, but swoon-worthy when he made an effort.

Edwin’s intentions weren’t clear, but our magnetism was undeniable.

Much like Sydney Shaw, from Brown Sugar, I knew what was good for me and what wasn’t. Did I oblige these notions? No.

Despite knowing this, despite knowing what the perfect verse was for the beat of my drum, I clung to an unfinished melody and prayed for an eventual song.

_________________________________________

Marsha arrived promptly. I opened the door to find her, hands on her hips, ready to converse. She walked straight into my living room, plopped on my sofa, and got to the point.

“Are you seeing Edwin?”

I immediately became defensive, her tone was accusatory and unexpected, “We’re talking.”

What did talking mean, anyway? Was it something that you did casually throughout the day? Was it something that was a precursor to the real thing? Was it absolute bull and something for your not-so-significant-other to utilize when they wanted to bail?

“I mean…I thought we were just talking.”

Marsha spoke again, “What does that mean?”

Good lord. She wanted ME to define it.

I let out a small sigh, “We’re conversing on the phone.”

“Did he ask you out?”

“Yeah…well, sort of. Why, what’s up?”

“I’m just going to keep it real. I’m into him.”

“Oh. Since when? When we went to the dating event…you were into Scotty.”

“Well, I changed my mind.”

______________________________________

Marsha was always changing her mind. We frequented a dating event that happened once a month in the city. Wayne, the host, was a good friend of mine that Marsha met through me. Once he started posting flyers, she started attending. I, on the other hand, was busy with work. After much pleading, I finally decided to go with her. We attended their Halloween party and were both wearing costumes. I was Frida Kahlo and she was a sexy kitten.

Nuff said.

Marsha was right. There were fine men, everywhere. Wayne spotted us the minute we were about to give the bouncers our name.

“Hey! This is my play sister and her friend. They’re welcome in.”

The bouncer moved the velvet rope and let us in. We both hugged Wayne and I looked at him in admiration. I was so proud of him. He’d started the event with a few friends and now it was a big deal. The place was packed.

“Where do we start? There’s so much happening.”

Wayne pointed out all of the rooms, “There’s drinks and food there, dancing in there, and speed dating in this other room. Start anywhere you’d like.”

Marsha and I decided to head to the dance floor. I spotted everyone of interest to me, instantly. I whispered, “There’s a bald guy over there, that’s gorgeous.”

“Oh. That’s Monty. He’s a blogger. He tried to talk to me last week, I wasn’t interested.”

Ew. Leftovers. I looked around some more.

“What about the brother sitting down?”

She smiled, “That’s Scotty. We’ve been kind of kicking it. Off limits girl.”

Last, but not least, I spotted the DJ.

“Okay. I stand corrected. He’s the finest man in the room.”

She laughed, “Edwin? He’s always busy. He doesn’t have time for women. But if you’re into him, go ahead.”

 

__________________________________

 

I didn’t take her advice until months later, at the party. The biggest issue I thought I’d run into was him being unavailable. I didn’t think I’d be arguing with my best friend, over a guy.

“You can’t just change your mind.”

“Yes I can. I met him first.”

“Yeah, but I introduced you to Wayne. You wouldn’t have met him, if it weren’t for that.”

Was I really having this conversation, over a guy? Yes. Yes, I was.

“Seriously, I like him,” she said.

“Does he like you?”

She frowned, “I asked him, but he didn’t really respond. He kind of avoided it.”

She shifted her feet around and played with her fingers, a sign that she was upset or nervous. I didn’t want to lose my best friend.

“I’ll stop talking to him.”

As I said this, my phone buzzed in my pocket. I took it out and looked at it.

“EDWIN”

I pressed ignore, mentally and physically, put the phone away, and suppressed whatever I was feeling.

I think.

_______________________

Christopher and I spoke every night, since our run-in on Instagram. We’d exchanged numbers and notions, realizing that we had a lot in common. We had a few of the same friends, interests, and we loved all the same sports teams.

He was the epitome of consistent. I received three standard texts, a day, at least one phone call, and several links/mentions to articles he thought I’d enjoy.

We were wi-fi & 4G cuffing, because we lived in different states. (More on the pointlessness of this, in another chapter.)

Christopher’s regularity was exciting, during a time when men were frequently M.I.A. However, there were some times where it became a bit needy.

“Hey. I haven’t heard from you all day.”

“Hey. Did you get home safe?”

“Hey. Hit me in the morning.”

These texts, isolated, weren’t cause for alarm. However, these texts were within an hour of each other. Keep in mind: Christopher and I have never met in person.

I wasn’t checking my phone and I went home and passed out. I woke up to these messages and wondered if Christopher was a little off his rocker.

I brushed these thoughts away and scolded myself for being unappreciative. I called when I got in. After twenty minutes of conversing with him, I got a call on the other line. It was my father. He called to let me know that his really good friend, someone I’d considered an uncle, had passed away overnight. Despite our lack of closeness, I clicked over and started to cry while speaking to Christopher and got dressed at the same time.

He wouldn’t let me off of the phone.

“What’s wrong, love? Tell me.”

I pulled on my jeans and spoke through tears, “I’ve got to get to my parents. I’ll check in, later.”

“Promise you’ll call. I’m worried about you.”

I promised I would.

His incessant behavior was suddenly endearing. All night, he checked in on me and did so several days afterwards.

This experience brought us closer together. I liked him, I decided I would let him know. Before I spoke to him, that evening, he text:

“I’m really into you. Can I fly you down? I really want to see you.”

“RivaFlowz” is an educator and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz or read more of her work on her blog.

 

I’m Still Looking For A Love Jones In The Brown Sugar Section Of Whole Foods: Exhausting The Possibilities

February 12th, 2015 - By Erica RivaFlowz Buddington
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Exhausting The Possibilities

Source: Erica Buddington

The first part of this column is HERE. Trust me, you’ll want to read it. The stories are connected. :) 

I’m a Love Jones fan.

But…

The only Darius I know is a class one a-hole, that looks in the mirror way too often. I won’t lie though–he’s super gorgeous. Well, he was. Some of us age better than others.

I was the writer in our brief union, but definitely a Nina when it came to the dangerous line between coy and courage. When he broke my heart, I got up at an open mic that his fraternity was hosting and performed a poem that tore him to shreds.

Yimmy-ya that. Trick.

I own the film in DVD form. I don’t own a DVD player due to my all Apple everything crib, iTunes heavy, but I still watch it every now and then on Youtube. (Thank God for hackers and freebies.)

While I’m watching, I try to juxtapose the happenings of my current life versus what’s happening on the screen. Sigh. It’s a scary comparison.

____

(Editor’s Note: the next part of this story is a continuation from the story told last week. If you missed it, be sure to read it here first.)  

I spent the next few days trying to juggle the attention of the men I’d been talking to.

Trey and I sent tons of texts, trying to flesh out the the vision for a script and cracking jokes in between. Edwin sent memes and called in between shows/flights. He was touring with Usher and had little time to speak between sets, but emojis were enough to let me know I was on his mind.

On the day I was supposed to meet Trey, I went shopping, got my hair done, and my nails done. (Yeah, I was doing the most.) Clearly it was selfie time.

I stood in my mirror, arm angled to perfection, when I noticed an IG name, I didn’t recognize, going on a liking spree.

C’mon ladies…we know how it is:

1 Like: Hi. Look at my page, but I’m not following you until you follow me.

10 Likes: Hey girl. I notice you.

15 Likes, Follow: Hey girl. I notice you and I’m going to keep noticing you.

15 Likes, Follow, Comment, and a slim chance of a D.M.: Hey girl. WE GO TOGETHER.

Okay…maybe that last one was me getting a bit carried away.

But then there’s the most brazen tactics of all:

The infamous comment on a seventeen week old photo, that’s a straight up conversation starter or the direct attack on your most recent photo, for the world to see. (A man making his claim, before allowance.

Christopher did both.

He jumped from photo to photo, leaving inquiries on each one:

“Where do you live?”

“What are you up to, tonight?”

“Can a brother, like me, get a chance, with a sister, like you?”

I clicked his name and went to his page. I knew him, well…kind of. Christopher was a fellow grad school alumni of my “little brother”, a younger friend from the HBCU I went to for under grad. I’d seen him in hangout photos before and he was beautiful. He was slim, toned, and tall as hell, a fan of bow-ties and suspenders. He was a legacy kid, southern elite. His mom and aunts were in the same sorority, he and his father in the same fraternity, and his grandparents and great-grandparents had done the same

He was the type of man that knew exactly what he wanted for himself, his children, and his children’s children. He knew where he’d be in 5, 10, and 15 years. I’d never met anyone like him.

Of course, I learned all about this after we began to know each other. In this moment, I was able to to ascertain, from his page, that he was easy on the eyes, big on family, and about his business.

I wrote back, under one of his photos: Brooklynite. Headed out. Maybe. Hi, Christopher.

__________

 

Trey and I didn’t dance to reggae music, all night, at the Wild Hair, but we hit up a great salsa spot.

He said he’d been itching to use a Groupon for salsa dancing that was about to expire and they just happened to have salsa dancing, late night, too.

As we walked inside, I said, “This is turning into more of a date, than a business meeting.”

He pulled my chair, from under the table, “It never was a business meeting.”

We spent the next few hours talking about our potential script, argued over character dialogue and description, and laughed at how stubborn we both were.

After we were full and grew tired of talking about the script, we headed to the dance floor. I cringed at a my reoccurring klutz, that kept happening over and over again.

I stepped on his shoes.

I grabbed his hand too hard, when I almost fell.

I’m sure I went in the wrong direction, when he tried to spin me out and bring me back to him.

He thought every stumble was cute and laughed at all of my errors.

When it was all said and done, we couldn’t stop looking at one another.

We sat still, in the car, listening to cars hum as they passed us.

He touched my hand and said something corny. I think it was, “Girl…I don’t want to do your deposits anymore.”

I laughed and started the car for him.

In my best patois accent: “You’re fresh. Take me home, handsome.”

 

___________

 

Edwin from the skating rink called late and looking for answers.

“We should hang out, this week.”

I lay back in my sheets, “We should. Where do you want to go?”

“I was thinking you could come over.”

I snickered, “We should go outside.”

“It’s cold. Let’s stay in and watch a movie. There’s this indie called “Chef” that just came out. I think you’ll love it. I’ll even cook.”

I considered it, “Maybe. I have to check my schedule.”

“Oh really? Busy, huh? I like that.”

“I bet you do. It’ll keep me out of your hair.”

Stacy Barthe played in his background. It told me a lot about him, but I didn’t let him know.

He was quiet for a minute, “I have to ask you something.”

“Shoot.”

“How close are you and Marsha?”

“Really close. She had my back in college.”

“Hmmm. I think I need to be honest with you about something.”

I sat up in my bed, feeling like I knew what was coming,  “Okay, I’m listening.”

“After her party, she was asking about my interest in you.”

“Okay.”

“I told her that I was digging you, but not until after she told me that she was into me.”

I listened for more.

“Do you want to pursue that?”

I gulped. I was getting to know other people, but I had an eerily strong connection with Edwin. It was something we both could feel, before we even spoke.

“No. Absolutely not. I think she’s come at me before, but I missed the cues. I know that’s your friend and all. I don’t want to mess with that.”

Before I could respond, my other line beeped. It was Marsha.

“She’s calling me now. When did you talk to her?”

“Right before this. This is why I called you.”

I was angry and annoyed. I got the feeling he was trying to play the both of us. I clicked over.

“What’s up Marsha?”

“Hey boo. Can I come over? I was in the neighborhood and I think we need to talk.”

Shit.

 

____________________

 

There are very distinct types of men you meet in your twenties:

The long distance brother, because you’re not so sure that your soulmate exists in the “desert” you call home.

The inconsistent man, because you’re not sure if he’s not interested or just extremely goal oriented (b/c that’s what you want, anyway).

The Mister Perfect, because perfection means there’s a HUGE flaw waiting for your heart to reach your sleeve.

I’d met all three at one time.

And I was excited and scared, all at once.

See you next week, slim.

 Rivaflowz is an educator and freelance writer, living in New York. You can read her first dating series “In The Meantime” and her fiction, at Rivaflowz.com.

Omari Hardwick In “Things Never Said” Tonight On BET – A Must-See Indie Film

July 17th, 2014 - By Brooke Dean
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It seems that Omara Hardwick is on fire these days. With success in recent hit series likes Being Mary Jane and Power, there is no doubt he is one of Hollywood’s new “it” guys. If you are a true fan of his, but have never seen the Indie film Things Never Said, then look no further than tonight on BET to catch him in this sexy, romantic love story.

In this modern-day “Love Jones’esque” feature from writer/director Charles Murray (Sons of Anarchy, Third Watch), Hardwick stars alongside Shanola Hampton (Shameless, Criminal Minds) who plays Kalindra Stepney, an aspiring spoken-word poetess who tries to find her voice while lost in an abusive marriage. She’s a waitress by day married to her high school sweetheart Ronnie (Elimu Nelson) who was once a rising basketball star. When a career-ending injury relegates the volatile, quick-tempered Ronnie to working at a gas station, he takes out his frustrations on his wife, both physically and emotionally, leaving Kalindra to pour out her pain through spoken word.

While trying to heal from a miscarriage and escape her dead-end relationship, Kalindra finds herself resisting the advances of the devastatingly handsome and charismatic Curtis (Omari Hardwick) – a fan of her poetry who can actually recite it back to her. Try as she might to protest that she’s a married woman, the chemistry between them is too thick to ignore and they embark on a journey of artful romance, adultery, passion and self-realization.

With Hampton’s raw, emotional spoken word performances and Hardwick’s tough exterior, yet super sensitive core, it’s no wonder comparisons to Love Jones will inevitably be made. If you’re a fan of the genre and can’t wait for a sequel to the Darius Lovehall and Nina Mosley love story, then Hampton and Hardwick will give you your fix in Things Never Said. Any hopeless romantic and neo-soul enthusiast of spoken word will no doubt consider this film a must-see. If you can appreciate a melodramatic, complex account of black love with a grown and sexy soundtrack and electrifying word play, then tune in tonight to BET at 9PM EST. This film deserves your attention and you will not be disappointed.

Check out the trailer below.

 

 

Exclusive: Larenz Tate Dishes On ‘Love Jones’ Sequel & Why It’s A ‘Priority’

June 16th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: New Line Cinema

Source: New Line Cinema

It’s been close to 18 years since the release of “Love Jones,” but if you were to go by Larenz Tate’s social media mentions, you’d think it was just released yesterday.

“Darius Lovehall! Yeah, Darius Lovehall! Let me tell you, this is going to be a plug right now for all of my social media @LarenzTate. I’m really starting to get into this social media thing,” Larenz told MadameNoire in an exclusive interview. “I gotta say, there has not been one day since I’ve been on social media that someone hasn’t mentioned ‘Love Jones.'”

Larenz went on to say that he’s a little shocked by all of the attention “Love Jones” still receives.

“When I say, not one day has gone by. I’m thinking, ‘It’s a movie. Really?’ I’ve done a lot of work. There’s ‘Dead Presidents,’ ‘Menace,’ ‘Crash,’ ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love?’ No, hands down, ‘Love Jones’ is the one that gets a mention every day. Hands down, there’s no comparison. The audiences love that movie.”

Though he’s gearing up for the premiere of his new USA series, “Rush” as well as for the premiere of his new BET movie, “Gun Hill,” both of which debut next month, the seasoned actor says that giving fans a “Love Jones” sequel has become a priority on his list, as well as his co-star Nia Long’s.

“We’ve been talking a long time,” Larenz excitedly explained. “Nia and I, I’ve been trying to figure out, do we do the sequel? Is there a way to do a sequel? Is there a way to do a continuation? Or is there a way to do a part two?We’ve been creating all kinds of scenarios. It’s still very much so at the top of our conversations. It has become a priority. We have to address this. What are we going to do because the audiences in that time, not only do they celebrate the movie, they want to see what happened.”

Of course, being the mastermind behind the follow-up to such an iconic film is no easy feat.

“It’s really tough to figure out how you catch lightening in a bottle twice. The movie was such a success. Maybe not when it first came out, but over the years, it’s become such a cult classic. It’s become such a groundbreaking movie for our generation and now the next generation is picking it up. They’re into the whole poetry thing and the whole notion that African-Americans, black folk, people of color are smart and don’t have to deal with all of the so-called stereotypes.”

“No one got hurt,” Larenz continued. “The only thing that was hurt in that movie was someone’s heart and that was something that was very special. Those elements and those underlying themes are what keep people wanting more because Hollywood stopped making those films. Hollywood got into a whole bunch of other stuff that wasn’t rich in culture and rich in story like ‘Love Jones.’ There’s a need for it. There’s a void and that’s one of the real reasons why we’re considering doing a part two. We really are talking about it because they don’t make those types of movies anymore. So why not go back to what worked?”

The amazing on-screen chemistry that Larenz shares with Nia Long also appears to have served as an incentive to make the sequel happen.

“Nia and I, when we work together, we work!”

The two appeared briefly together on Don Cheadle’s “House Of Lies” recently and plenty folks were expecting Love Jones-esque make-out scenes, but fans were left a bit disappointed.

“We didn’t really work together, we were just on the same series at the time. And everyone thought we would, you know, hook up. But it wasn’t my show, it was Don Cheadle’s show so he hooked up with Nia!” he joked. “But we was like, ‘That’s fine! We wanna wait for our scene anyway! That don’t even matter!'”

Sooo are you here for this “Love Jones” sequel?

 Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

 

 

13 Things People Say You Must Like Or Have Seen In Order To Keep Your ‘Black Card’

April 3rd, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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There are certain things you need to like in order to keep the peace and to keep people from coming at your head in my office. Say you haven’t seen Poetic Justice and it’s like someone saying they haven’t seen daylight: “YOU HAVEN’T SEEN POETIC JUSTICE!? You’re like 20 years late!” Same goes for certain famous folks. Stand up and say that someone’s show or new music is just okay and you’re immediately labeled a hater. It’s something we have comical debates about often (like today), and it’s how I came up with this short list of things you better watch or love unless you want to get embarrassed.

Note: This is all for fun by the way, no actual black cards were stolen in the making of this slideshow.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

Color Purple

How can you miss a movie that literally came on UPN every other week and BET at least once a month? Not only is it an amazing film, but it’s always on. If you can’t quote at least one line from this joint (How about, “I loves Harpo, God knows I do. But I’ll kill him dead before I let him beat me!), you better hurry up and play catch up.

Who Was Your “First?” New Issa Rae Webseries Takes A Modern Spin On “Love Jones”

April 2nd, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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New Issa Rae Webseries

Issa Rae

Spring is here and love is in the air — all thanks to a new Issa Rae webseries!

Rae who kept us locked into “The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl” is debuting a new webseries called “First.” Dubbed the modern-day Love Jones with a leading man just as cute as Larenz Tate, the series will revolve around a couple who were childhood love interests.

The leading characters, Robin and Charles, fall back in love as adults but “First” allow viewers to see how things are not as simple as a childhood love affair. According to Cultured Starved, the webseries was created by Jahmela Biggs. Biggs has previously worked on the NBC series “Whitney” and Magic Johnson’s Network ASPiRE’s “Cocoa Love.” Co-staring along with Biggs is newcomer Will Catlett.

Below is the trailer and a clip from the first episode of “First!” It debuts, tonight on the Issa Rae Channel. Will you tune in?

[UPDATE] Click the next page to see the premiere of “First!”

When Does Casual Flirtation Cross The Line Into Thirst?

October 9th, 2013 - By Charing Ball
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thirst

What’s the difference between being thirsty and casual flirtation?

That question crossed my mind the other day while virtually hanging out in a closed Facebook group. I won’t say which one it was, but it has to do with hair. Anyway, the other day a guy comes into the group and introduces himself. It’s a hair group so it’s mostly dominated by women, but no biggie because men have hair too, right? Well, he starts off well, posting hair pictures, talking about hair regimens and engaging in the normal non-hair related gossip we are so fond of from time to time. And then, without warning or provocation, the guy decided to jump straight out the window and ask the room of a few thousand strange women (and men and probably intersex too), if there was anyone interested in being his lady?

Maybe I just haven’t caught up with all the other uses of this new technology, but this approach to dating just seems, for a lack of a better word, desperate. If not thirsty, definitely his open air pitch was cover for some extreme drought-like conditions in the sex and romance department. Perhaps I have been subjected to the advances of too many aggressive and hyper dudes over the years, but I see boldly posting in a chat room of mostly women, “who wants to be my woman?” as the equivalent of standing on a street corner and hollering at each and every girl you see, “Hey baby, what’s your name? Hey girl, come here and let me talk to you for a second. Girl, don’t walk past me without giving me your number.”

Basically, that’s something that only the thirsty would do.

However, not everyone sees it that way. In fact, when I posed the scenario on my own personal Facebook page, I received varied responses: from those who thought that dude was so thirsty, he was on the verge of seeing desert mirages, to a couple of Facebook friends, who thought that the chat room guy was just seizing the moment. Said one friend:

“I don’t like that term. There’s nothing wrong with desiring or trying to get your needs met and that is what thirst is…..a need. It maybe how you get them met that makes it a problem but if the guy is putting his need out there. Nothing wrong with it.”

I actually don’t disagree with this. I mean, conventional wisdom tells us all the time that those who ask, shall receive. I’m sure his inbox got a few hits from some ladies, who too might be on their carpe diem vibe. And it is not like there isn’t precedence. Remember in the film Love Jones when Darius Lovehall showed up to Nina Mosley’s apartment unannounced because he was uninvited? If you’ll recall the plot points, he got her address from a check she left behind at a record store. And remember on the television show Family Matters when Urkel committed to a whole bunch of antics, which could be classified as high-level thirst, to gain the affection of beloved next door neighbor Laura? Being thirsty, and then acting on it, certainly played out well in the romantic best interests of both men in both situations.

But that’s in film and television. In real life, there are all sorts of awkward and downright dangerous things that could befall someone who falls prey to the unquenched desires of the thirsty. At the least, you could end up having to cyber cuss out some annoyingly desperate dude, who persistently pursues you via text message or your Facebook wall. Worst case scenario, you could end up like Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had to get the police involved with her love-crazed cyberstalker, who sent her numerous and at times crazy emails, text messages and Facebook postings. And according to the University of Houston Women’s Resource Center website, approximately eight percent of women and two percent of men have been stalked at some point in their lives. Generally speaking, “stalking behavior may be seen by the stalker as romantic rather than intimidating, but the fear experienced by the victim is a more reliable indicator of stalking than the intention of the perpetrator.”

However, even with the potential for danger, the lines between the flirt and the thirst are pretty blurred. Just look at some of the varied responses to this article in Gawker about Brody the barista, who sent a video “selfie” to LA model Piper Kennedy a day after meeting and “reluctantly” ciphering a phone number from her lips. According to the Gawker article, “Brody can be seen “sensually” touching his face with his hand while Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ plays in the background.” It is probably the most pitifully hilarious 16 seconds you will see on film today. Or maybe not. As one of the commentators pointed out in the comment section, “So she gives her phone number to the guy, and he rightfully assumes that it would be acceptable to text her a flirtatious message. He does so in a creepy but still PG-rated way, she shames him in front of millions.”

There does appear to be an effort as of late to reclaim – or completely abolish – the term, “thirsty.” I don’t know if I agree fully with the rationale, however, I can somewhat empathize. Perhaps the fellas are sick and tired of having their legitimate interest in the opposite (or even same) sex be dismissed or diminished as desperate. It is possible that the acceptance of some flirty behavior might depend upon the attractiveness of the pursuer. With that said, I have also been in positions where a very attractive guy did something so desperate that it became an instant turnoff. So perhaps folks are trying to normalize some pretty abhorrent behavior all in the interest of not appearing desperate. Since technology, particularly social networking, is still in its infancy stages, the rules that govern the appropriateness of flirtatious behavior are still being defined. Until those parameters are set, I think it is best to leave those boundaries up to the recipient(s) of the attention.