Black intimacy is still a rarity on screen. Though we're at a point where Black stories are more prevalent in both film and on television than ever before -- Black relationships in the cinematic realm are still scarce.
There's a deep desire to see relationships both romantic and platonic between Black folks. During the sophomore season of Issa Rae's hit HBO series Insecure, there was a ton of uproar surrounding the depiction of condom use or lack thereof. That conversation didn't simply appear from thin air. Since there are so few stories about love, sex, relationships, and friendships depicting Black people -- fans were desperately searching for an all-encompassing view in one 30-minute sitcom. Throughout cinematic history, Black love and intimacy have not been erased entirely. There are some filmmakers who've understood the importance of showcasing these relationships from the beginning.
This October, New York City's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will celebrate some of the most dynamic stories of Black love. Black Intimacy will look at cinematic portrayals of black familial, romantic, queer, and platonic relationships, and how filmmakers reconcile the personal and the political in their particular films. From the 1964 stunner, Nothing But A Man starring Ivan Dixon and Abbey Lincoln to the Emmy-award winning Master of None episode "Thanksgiving," written by and starring Lena Waithe the series will examine Black love and consider whether it can be portrayed in cinema without being deemed political.
The series includes 16 films, two shorts, and a television episode, and will run at The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters Oct. 3-16. Films like Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep explore the Black male identity while others like 1974's Claudine and 1994's The Inkwell will examine Black women and how they're depicted as love interest on screen. Black Intimacy is being organized by Adeze Wilford, Joint Fellow, Department of Film, MoMA, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.
Aramide A Tinubu is a film critic and entertainment writer. As a journalist, her work has been published in EBONY, JET, ESSENCE, Bustle, The Daily Mail, IndieWire and Blavity. She wrote her Master’s thesis on Black Girlhood and Parental Loss in Contemporary Black American Cinema. She’s a cinephile, bookworm, blogger and NYU + Columbia University alum. You can find her reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, read her blog at: www.chocolategirlinthecity.com or tweet her @midnightrami