A Good Day to be Black and Sexy

“And I hate to tell you too much, cuz I stay with too much pride
And we way too young to know love; maybe not, but we don’t need no rush
Don't believe in love at first sight, but I believe in love at first ... huh”

-Wale, “Lotus Flower Bomb”

Well, kids, there’s a whole lot of huh-ing happening in this movie. That fact, however, should not be the sole reason for your attraction to or rejection of this film, which is crafted around six vignettes of mostly black folks navigating a variety of sexual predicaments. (I’m choosing to forgive the story featuring the interracial couple as a poorly executed attempt to appeal to a larger audience.) Virgins, adulterers, freaks -- errrrbody gets air time in director Dennis Dortch’s dramedy. In an odd way, the scintillating title and sometimes gratuitous lust-fueled scenes actually mask the hidden truth that the sexual escapades highlighted are meant to function as an entry point into a much needed conversation about black love and relationships.

What the movie loses in depth of storylines -- and it is quite lacking in that regard -- it recovers in breadth of characters. I appreciate what feels like an intentional effort to move beyond a rap-video clichéd projection of black men as hypermasculine, over-sexed sperm-spewing machines and black women as preternaturally eager fetish-worthy receptacles. Given that, my favorite narrative is “Reprise,” which centers on a couple negotiating a particular sexual encounter. The crux of this specific tale is that she wants something he doesn’t. The thing itself isn’t important; in roughly four minutes, and about as many sentences -- not including grunts -- what emerges is an example of how symbiosis in a relationship, when added to an acute attunement to your own and your partner’s needs, can enrich the various levels on which the relationship is experienced. It’s a portrayal that goes beyond him as pussy-slaying African warrior, à la Shaka Zulu and Luanda Magere, and her as docile, passive, “Daddy, you the boss” cooing harajuku Barbie, offering a touchingly rich, honest and surprisingly tender image of black male and female sexuality. The moral of this story is that the only thing sexier than a confident black man is one confident enough to be vulnerable. Yes, Lawdy.

The theme that unifies Dortch’s distinct vignettes is that there’s never a bad day to be black and sexy. And really, who could disagree with that? This is a worthy addition to your Netflix queue.

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