Traditional romantic film dramas have become a rarity in recent years, and even rarer are those with predominantly black casts. That’s a fact not lost on moviegoers excited for the arrival of the new Valentine’s Day release The Photograph, a love story about a New York art curator (Issa Rae) who develops feelings for the journalist (LaKeith Stanfield) profiling her late mother.
“It feels very rare because it is,” writer-director Stella Maghie (Everything, Everything, The Weekend) told Yahoo Entertainment (watch above). “There are so few romantic dramas, there’s not enough diversity of films from different points of view. So it was never lost on me that [not] a lot of people get to do this.”
“It was a huge excitement factor, and I definitely think it’s still rare,” agreed Rae (Insecure, Little). “I think seeing these beautiful chocolate faces on screen for [a romance], it’s about damn time!,” bellowed Lil Rel Howery (Get Out, Bird Box), who plays Stanfield’s brother. “We don’t see it all the time.”
While there are major efforts underway to ramp up representation in Hollywood, odes to black love are not as popular as they were in the 1990s (Poetic Justice, Love Jones, How Stella Got Her Groove Back) or early 2000s (Love and Basketball, Brown Sugar). The only major film we’ve seen released recently in the same vein is Queen & Slim, which centered on a police shooting and had much more on its mind than romance.
“Everything is so traumatic,” said Howery. “Which I don’t mind because I do think there is some truth-telling to everything, but there’s a lot of different truths, and we do love love.”
“I know that more stories are coming, more stories are in the works,” added Rae. “We stand on great stories’ shoulders. But there’s just been a dearth of romantic movies in general that are just pure love stories without being attached to anything.”
The Photograph is now playing.
Watch the trailer:
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