With the success of this year’s runaway hit, Think Like a Man, we can expect to see a few more romantic comedies with black leads–which is great, because we’re due for a resurgence to rival our ’90s heyday. Back then, if you so much as blinked, a couple more black romcoms hit theatres; and a few of those of have become black community classics. But have you ever stopped to wonder about the shelf life of the relationships featured in these flicks? After the credits roll and the characters recede back into their own fictional universe, do they stay together? Let’s revisit a few black romcom couples and find out.
1. Nina and Darius Mosley-Lovehall (love jones, 1996)
In the sixteen years since love jones made its way to movie theatres, a lot has changed for The Mosley-Lovehalls. Nina and Darius married mere months after deciding that love was “urgent as a m-f-er.” Both hyphenated their last names. In 1999, they hung up their individual pursuits to become famed a editorial photographer and the next great American novelist and pooled their talents to join in on the dotcom boom. They launched a new media initiative that combined stills, short films, and community narratives and became the toast of Chicago. But the accountability of married life proved a bit for the pair, who discovered that love, regardless of its urgency, isn’t enough to power a marriage, all on its own. Both got the seven-year itch and their wanderlust got the better of them. After their split, Darius spent time in South America, West Africa, and Europe. Nina bought homes in Austin and Atlanta. They split custody of their 12-year-old twins, Assata and Zora.
2. Kenya McQueen and Brian Kelly (Something New, 2006)
Brian is still a landscape architect, but Kenya quit the firm after two years as partner. It turns out her “one Saturday a month that was untouchable” never panned out. And the job wound her tighter, even as Brian worked hard to keep her mellow. Kenya opened a yoga studio to help sisters de-stress. He has usurped her birth brother as her parents’ favorite son. Brian’s still trying to convince her to kids. She remains undeterred, but to compromise, she’s agreed to another dog.
3.Havilland Savage and Lee Plenty (Hav Plenty, 1997)
After being dumped by not one, not two, but three high profile, high-earning beaus, Hav had a major attitude adjustment and began to realize that Lee was the man for her. This was three years after his film about their non-relationship debuted. She showed up at the premiere of his second film, which had a much higher budget and a great deal of positive early buzz. But when she spotted him, her eye immediately flew to the supermodel on his arm and the astronomical rock on her finger. Humiliated and hell-bent on escaping before he spotted her, she slunk out the back theatre exit as soon as the room darkened. They’ve never seen each other again.
4. Shante Smith and Keith Fenton (Two Can Play That Game, 2001)
Even though Shante promised Keith that she’d learned her lesson and no longer believed that men could be “controlled” through an intricate series of game-playing, that promise was in itself part of the game. After a year of angling for an engagement ring, using everything from argument-manufacturing to sex-rationing to redecorating his mother’s pool house, Keith got tired of the power plays and broke things off. Both have since married other partners.
5. Monica and Quincy McCall (Love & Basketball, 2000)
When Monica’s career in the WNBA was sidelined by two significant injuries and two more kids, the McCalls decided to hang up their jerseys and get out of the game altogether. Without the lifelong passion that first united them, their relationship temporarily faltered, as they struggled to find other points of common interest. Quincy’s return to college led to a Master’s in Sports Medicine. And Monica, as it turned out, did inherit her father’s financial aptitude. They started a nonprofit that prepared youth of color for careers behind the scenes in athletics, as entertainment accountants and physical therapists. Magic Johnson himself loaned their organization its seed money. The pursuit reinvigorated their relationship. Their school-aged kids are happy, each knowing how to balance a checkbook and set a sprained ankle. And unlike his father, Quincy never strays from the marriage.
Are you happy with these fictional outcomes for your favorite black romcom characters? How would you change things?