Today is the 20 Year Anniversary of Love Jones
“Who am I? Well, they call me Brotha to the night. And right now, I’m the blues on your left thigh…trying to become the funk in your right…Is that all right?”
If you’re anything like me,Im sure you took his open-ended question and answered it with a resounding, “Hell yeah,” while watching this movie. I do this, every single time. What can I say? I like a man who knows how to use his words
If your a youngin and/or not hip too the backstory of the film beyond its hype, Love Jones tells the story of Darius Lovehall (played by Larenz Tate), a black man who happens to be a poet in Chicago who falls in love with a photographer (played by Nia Long), by the name of Nina Moseley. This dynamic duo (who literally look the exact same way they did 20 years ago, seriously black don’t crack!) take us through the ups and downs of their relationship, reminding us all that even if the perfect relationship doesn’t exist, good love does, and more than that, it’s worth fighting for. Always. Pride can be something serious to swallow, especially in situations where the ego is involved, but I won’t give too much away (in case you haven’t seen it).
I will never forget how Love Jones made me feel ,those scenes left its imprint on our hearts 20 years ago as of today, stood out to me and grabbed me the most. I had never seen anything like it. Unapologetic blackness that was spun in a way where there were expressions of art and creativity that bound these characters together and shaped them individually as they hustled through their day to day life. Characters traded in the stereotypical Hollywood mold of criminality and highlighted a different reality, a reality that was a lot truer to most people.
I didn’t understand the dynamics of #LoveJones when it first came out. By all means; I was ten years old. But I did know that I wanted a love like that….a love that made its way back to me. And even now when I watch Love Jones I catch something new every time and this time I GET IT and I FEEL THEM. Classic movie that speaks to every adult that has experienced some REAL love.
” Let me tell you somethin’. This here, right now, at this very moment, is all that matters to me. I love you. That’s urgent like a motherfucker.” – #DariusLovehall
20 years later ( I was 10 at the time), it’s hard to believe that Love Jones still continues to be a staple in every black family’s DVD collection.
Did You Know :
Jada Pinkett-Smith Was Supposed to Play Nina
As much as we love Nia Long and Larenz Tate together, believe it or not, Jada Pinkett-Smith was originally supposed to play the role of Nina. According to the director, he saw Jada on “A Different World” and felt she brought a different sensibility from other black actresses of her generation, but unfortunately she passed on the script.
The First Ending Was Scrapped Because Black Women Don’t Like To Get Their Hair Wet
The first ending of Love Jones initially had Nia Long standing in the rain while Larenz’s character pleaded for her love. During the screening of the movie, black women offered feedback that this scene was unrealistic because a black woman would never stand in the rain and risk getting her hair wet. Even Witcher had to weigh in on this one:
“We tested the movie, and most of the women in the audience didn’t believe a black woman would stand in the rain with her hair uncovered. This mortified me because we’re going for the big finish and you’re absorbed in this detail of whether her hair would get messed up? The studio [New Line Cinema] said, ‘Reshoot,’ and we shot the scene under an L train track. I wanted to present a woman protagonist without vanity, which I thought would be refreshing, but I guess I failed.”
[…] On the one hand, I thought that was [messed] up and on the other hand I was mad at myself because I thought it was a failure that if I haven’t locked you into this movie by this point such that some minor plot inconsistency is taking you out of the movie, then I have failed as a filmmaker. Apparently, for black women, the rain was a bridge too far … and the studio’s like, “Well, I guess we’re reshooting the ending. That’s for sure.”
I was really upset at that. Really upset. Really. Just thinking about it, I remember getting those cards back and reading comment after comment after comment about the hair and I was, like, “The … hair? Are you kidding me? Really? Her hair?” Apparently, “Yes. Really, …yes, her hair. Get it right. Yes.”
Love Jones Was Considered a Flop
Everybody and their mama has seen Love Jones and despite the popularity amongst the African-American community, many have considered Love Jones to be a flop by Hollywood standards because the film only grossed $12 million at the box office. There were many reasons that attributed to the low box office numbers included the film’s characters of “black intellectuals and creatives” was a different spin on the gangster movies that had gained popularity during that time. Actor Isiah Washington blames the lower than expected box office numbers on the black community not being fully ready for a black love or romance movie
“Talk that talk honey. Walk that walk, money. High on legs that’ll spite Jehovah…”