Despite the growing popularity of black romcoms, they remain segregated in public perception due to cultural white-washing.
This is especially relevant considering Rebel Wilson’s recent comment that she was the first plus size woman to star in a romantic comedy.
There have been Black women of all sizes in romantic comedies for decades. Queen Laitfah, and Monique, are just two who immediately spring to mind. Now, I’m not a fan of romantic comedies, in the sense that I don’t actively seek them out, but I am a Black woman who is friends with other Black women who love them, so I’ve definitely watched them, which is how I was able to come up with two names of plus size Black women right away. To be absolutely fair though, a lot of them were never advertised as romantic comedies. Hollywood only advertised them as comedies, and Black comedies specifically, which once again, speaks to the erasure of Black women from discussions of romance.
One also needs to take into account, as the above article states, that movies aimed specifically at women have often been denigrated by audiences of every color. Hell, even I did it, when I was younger, and didn’t realize that I was participating in a culture that denigrates and demonizes women’s interests and hobbies, the way most things that women do are devalued because of…you guessed it…misogyny.
So, movies aimed at Black women are either going to get short shrift, or just be completely ignored. How ignored are we? It took the success of Crazy Rich Asians for Hollywood to get the idea that romantic comedies aimed at PoC would do well at the box office, as if Hollywood had completely forgotten about Coming To America, starring Eddie Murphy, which is one of the highest grossing Black comedies ever. But note, Coming to America , even though it’s about an African prince looking for love in America, it wasn’t advertised as a romance. It was advertised as just a comedy.
The very first Black romantic comedy I remember watching was the Spike Lee Joint She’s Gotta Have it, which I watched at a slumber party at my best friend’s house with a group of teenage girls. Over the years, I even managed to collect some favorites like : Deliver Us From Eva, Hitch, Something New, Coming to America, Boomerang, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and anything with Queen Latifah in it, but most especially Bringing Down the House, which I’ve watched multiple times.
So yeah, there have been dozens of Black romantic comedies but most people just don’t see them or think of them when those words are said.