Why You Should Take A Non-Black Friend To See ‘Think Like A Man’
Let me clear a couple of things up before I get into the main point of today’s post.
- No I am not getting paid from the people behind Think Like A Man to write this post.
- Yes, we did run a contest to giveaway tickets to special Think Like A Man preview screenings.
- No we don’t get paid for that.
- Yes, I have seen the movie Think Like A Man already.
- No, I have not read the book the movie is based on and I probably never will.
Now that I’ve gotten the disclaimers out of the way, let’s move forward and talk about why I want all of my black readers to take a non-black friend or family member (cause I know some of you all have them) to see Think Like A Man, which comes out in theaters this Friday.
Throughout my time covering the entertainment industry, I’ve had an opportunity to see at times, the wizard behind the curtain. But that’s not some exclusive privilege extended to me because I’m a journalist with credentials. Everything we are given is transparent, it’s just a lot of us don’t care to give things a hard enough look in order to see exactly what is being sold to us and how.
Nowhere is transparency more clear than in the marketing of black films.
Here are some of the most-often said one-liners I’ve heard at press junkets for movies with a predominant black cast.
“This isn’t a movie about black people, it’s about people.” – Tyler Perry says this about damn near every one of his films, but a lot of black filmmakers say this when talking about their film’s all black cast
“It’s not about race.” – a common thing black filmmakers and actors say whenever the press starts to ask too many questions related to race or when they are talking to a non-black publication so non-black readers won’t feel alienated.
“Ultimately, it’s on you all to support the film so more movies like this can be made – the usual answer given to a room full of black media members or reporters from black publications when asked why there aren’t more non-violent black movies being made
That last line is the one that bothers me the most, mostly because it’s a lie. The success of black films is not solely contingent on how many black people go to see the film, it’s based on how many people go to see the film. The only color used to measure a movie’s success is green, the color of money. The more green a studio sees at the box office for a film, the more likely they are to make more movies just like it or more movies with the stars in it, regardless of what color they are.
Just ask Will Smith.
Will Smith will produce and star in a movie like Hitch (one of my all-time favorite romantic comedies), cast a Latina (Eva Mendes) as the female lead, and make white people think the movie is just as much for them as it is for black folks. This is because Will Smith understands the bottom line is determined by something beyond race, and that’s money.
Why no one else has grasped this concept is beyond me.
When I saw Think Like A Man, the first movie I thought to compare it to wasn’t another black film, but rather, another romantic comedy: He’s Just Not That Into You.
Don’t believe me? Look at the trailers
He’s Just Not That Into You
Think Like A Man
Just like Think Like A Man, He’s Just Not That Into You is based on a popular relationship-advice book. Just like TLAM, HJNTIY uses an ensemble cast. Just like TLAM, HJNTIY the ensemble cast is made up of one race of people (though TLAM at least has a token white character played by Jerry Ferrara).
But the most glaring similarity between these two movies is topical. Both films deal with the themes most universal to humanity: relationships.
Don’t let anyone convince you TLAM is the black version of HJNTIY. Once you say that, TLAM becomes a movie non-grata. I know because I fight the same perception with this very blog every single day.
Just like TLAM is a romantic comedy for every single person who likes romantic comedies, “Until I Get Married” is a blog for anyone who likes to read or think about relationships and dating. I’m aware a lot of my readers are black, but I write about this topic and share so much of myself in hopes everyone can relate to it, regardless of their race. I worked with the people behind TLAM because it’s a solid romantic comedy that deals with a topic I care deeply about, not because I’m black or I have black readers. “Until I Get Married” is a community in which the people who want to talk about matters of the heart, TLAM does the same thing.
We need to demystify what we’ve complicated and clouded: this idea that black relationships are different from non-black relationships. Don’t get me wrong, I understand as a people, all groups deal with unique and specific factors that can affect the relationships they have, but all of humanity knows a thing or two about love.
Love is the culture, TLAM is a movie about that culture, which is why I’m encouraging any of my black readers who go see TLAM to take one of their non-black friends (or family members) with them. Everyone needs to understand, when it comes to love, dating, and relationships, our different attitudes about these topics are beyond skin deep.
For those interested, one of the better articles I’ve read about the marketing and testing behind “Think Like A Man” was written by Claude Brodesser-Akner, for Vulture. Click here to read