Jonesin' for Poetry in Movies: Remembering Love Jones

One of my favorite moments of the 2010 BET Awards was when Larenz Tate and Nia Long showed up on stage to perform their poems from the movie, Love Jones (1997). I couldn't have been the only thirty-something woman screaming at the television at the site of Larenz Tate--he was as lovely to look at that night as he was when Love Jones first came out.

From that movie emerged a very attractive guy who was no longer the quirky odd kid he played in The Inkwell (1994). Anyway, I was absolutely in love with him and the idea of the "Renaissance Black man" his character described himself as being in Love Jones (truth be told, I have absolutely no idea what that term means now--sorry, RBM!).

And, Nia Long's character, Nina Mosley, was just as attractive. I loved them together from the very moment Tate's character, Darius Lovehall (I know, the name is a bit trite) walked onto the stage of the spoken word club and said, "Hey, girl, can I be your slave? I got to admit girl, you're the sh** girl, and I'm digging you like a grave." Because of this movie, I spent many nights in spoken word clubs throughout Washington, D.C., vibing off of the poetry of other folks who were finding their voices through writing.

Darius Lovehall was a poet and Nina Mosley was a photographer. They both were artistic types who described their worlds through their crafts. They met at the music store that Lovehall was working, and discussed their favorite music: the Isley Brothers and Charlie "Byrd" Parker (by the way, I even bought Byrd CDs because of Darius Lovehall). They were very hip, living in trendy black Chicago.

One of my favorite scenes was when Darius showed up, uninvited, to Nina's home after unethically getting her information from the check she used to pay for her music. Nina answered the door with Maxwell playing in the background (the song was "Ascension," I think). I cannot tell you how many times I tried to replicate that scene in real life by working on my craft (writing) as Nina worked on hers (photography) all while Maxwell played in the background.

Perhaps I am revealing a bit too much about myself, but I think by now you get that for me, this movie represented images of black people that were/are rarely seen on the big screen--the universal theme of two characters who were genuinely in love, and who dealt with the traditional ups and downs of being in a relationship.

Also, I loved this movie because it made being a writer a desirable. The characters were young, urban, and trendy! The best part of all, Darius Lovehall received a book deal at the end!



I know that I am not the only person who felt this way about Love Jones. What else did this movie invoke for you?

What other movies can you think of that incorporates poetry, fiction, etc. this well?

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