The term “sex sells” has defined mainstream media for years. In terms of black mainstream media, the same holds very true. Most films that are made for blacks and by blacks have an undertone of sex and women as sexual objects. Every now and then, however, there comes a film that explores relationships between African Americans and sheds a positive light on what it means to be black and in love.
The latest film to tackle that dichotomy is Jumping the Broom. Executive produced by televangelist T. D. Jakes and Tracey Edmonds (ex-wife of Baby Face), Jumping is the story of two people who fall in love. It’s also a commentary on single, black females, a suggestion on how to go about finding the one, and family.
In Jumping the Broom, Paula Patton is Sabrina, a woman who has made all of the wrong choices when it comes to men. After yet another relationship gone awry, Sabrina makes a promise to God to remain celibate until she is married. Soon after she makes that promise, she literally runs into Jason (played by Laz Alonso). Six months later, Sabrina and Jason are ready to tie the knot at Sabrina’s family home in the affluent Martha’s Vineyard.
Jumping the Broom (in theaters on May 6) also stars Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Tasha Smith, Julie Bowen, Valarie Pettiford, Romeo Miller, DeRay Davis, Meagan Good, Mike Epps, Gary Dourdan, Pooch Hall, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Jakes.
Patton, who is married to R&B singer, Robin Thicke, advises single women, especially the young people, to remain abstinent while seeking out a mate.
“It’s a new world we’re living in and being a single woman is difficult. I think women tend to fall in love easily (laughs) and quickly and think a guy’s the one too soon,” said Patton during a telephone conference last week. “It’s good advice to make a man wait a little bit. I think it makes the heart grow fonder.”
Alonso, who was also a part of the phone interview, shares Patton’s sentiments.
“What Jumping the Broom is saying, hopefully, to our brothers is that when you do find a woman who has everything that you are looking for – someone that speaks to you spiritually, mentally, intellectually, physically – you’re going to spend the rest of your life with this person,” said Alonso. “She is worth the wait.”
Both actors agree that Jumping symbolizes the romantic comedy genre that hasn’t been explored in black cinema too much in recent years. According to Alonso, films like Boomerang and Coming to America are those romantic comedies that, not only inspired him to become an actor, but put love and romance as the key to a successful relationship.
Alonso also credits Jumping’s director, Salim Akil (husband to Mara Brock Akil, creator of The Game and Girlfriends), who has directed episodes of The Game, for bringing the romantic comedy genre back to mainstream media and putting romance in the forefront.
Both actors also sounded off on African Americans, no matter their background, being similar as a people.
“In Jumping the Broom, you see two sets of families come together, who on the surface, may appear different. Some people have money. Some people don’t,” said Alonso, who is of Afro-Cuban descent. “But, at the end of the day, we are more alike than we are different. And if we focus on our likenesses, versus what makes us different, we can get through anything.”
Patton puts it more succinctly: “If you are good in your heart and you treat people with kindness and you try your best, I truly believe that anything can be overcome.”
Both stars said they are pleased with the outcome of Jumping the Broom and its overall message.
“What’s at the center and the forefront of Sabrina and Jason’s connection is that romantic bond,” said Alonso. “It reminds us that if you put love and romance first, then everything else has a chance to fall into place.”
Kimberly Grant may be reached at KAliciaG@aol.com