In the midst of being a film centered around the sport that is basketball, White Men Can’t Jump is also a story that is rooted in love–both romantically and platonically.
“It’s really relatable,” Teyana Taylor told Shadow and Act in a recent interview.
Taylor, plays Imani, the wife to film lead, Sinqua Walls (Kamal). For her, their relationship is a perfect example of love for the current and next generation.
“I think most importantly, not only does it reflect, but it also is a new lens for the younger generations,” she explained. “Because we’re in like a more prideful generation [and people are] not being able to be vulnerable and open up and express themselves. So, I feel like Kamal and Imani, they’re able to really hold each other accountable, all while knowing that it’s not the end of the world if I’m upset with you or gonna hold you accountable.”
Another underlying theme of the film, which is a remake of the synonymous 1992 cult classic, is the beauty of second chances. Walls’ character finds himself continuing his dreams alongside an unlikely counterpart, Jeremy (Jack Harlow).
“When we first interact with Kamal, it’s for lack of loving oneself as to why he’s so fractured, and then throughout the movie, he grows to have more love for himself,” said Walls. “And that’s why you see him go on a journey of elevated stature by the end of the movie. I think for all of us as humans, whatever you see, permeating on the outside is happening on the inside.”
He continue, “I read this really great quote that said, ‘Whatever is going on is a mirror of what you’re feeling,’ right? And I think that’s something for Kamal as well. Like where we see him grow from is because he starts to love himself. In the process of getting to know Jeremy, he makes him start to love himself and then he reverts back to seeing himself for all of the love that his wife has for him.”
Taylor also admits that her character mirrors a lot of who she is as a mother and a wife in real life.
“I show up for the world and I’m big on balance so I always say, a part of that is learning to be a great teammate in life,” she said. “I think that’s the most important sport and that’s the sport that I play, being a teammate in life. So with being a teammate in life is knowing how to show up for others, but also making room and time for yourself as well and vice versa. Just uplifting one another, being there, knowing that it’s hard work… no sport is easy. Love is not easy, but it’s patient. And it’s a mirror image because that’s who Imani is. She’s a great supporter, she’s a great wife. She’s a great mom, all while having her own dreams and goals, but not necessarily throwing it in anybody’s face. So when she holds Kamal accountable, he can take that because he’s like, ‘Damn, I really got a real one.’”
White Men Can’t Jump is streaming now on Hulu.