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Slave Play

*HBO’s “Insecure” and the series “Love Is Blind” as well as the new comedy “The Lovebirds,” all feature Black women in leading roles and navigating interracial relationships

The imagery has sparked debate across social media, with the New York Times, noting in a recent article that the dynamics that were seeing on screen is part of a larger cultural trend in which black women, especially those of medium-to-dark-brown complexions — long positioned at the bottom of the aesthetic and social hierarchy in the United States because of racist standards — are increasingly appearing as leading ladies and romantic ideals in interracial relationships onscreen,” the outlet writes. 

In a chapter in her book, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” actress/writer Issa Rae noted: “Black women and Asian men are at the bottom of the dating totem pole in the United States,” she wrote. Adding, “If dating were an assortment of Halloween candy, black women and Asian men would be the Tootsie Roll and Candy Corn — the last to be eaten, even if at all.” 

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Will Ferrell and Kerry Washington
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Will Ferrell, left, and Kerry Washington reboot the characters of Tom and Helen Willis in a live version of “The Jeffersons” on ABC.Credit…Eric McCandless/ABC, via Getty Images

In “The Lovebirds” Issa Rae and actor Kumail Nanjiani are couple on a mission to solve a murder mystery (the film is currently available to stream in Netflix).

As noted in the NY Times report, the interracial narrative with Black women at the center is also explored in recent works including Broadway’s “Slave Play” and “American Son”; the movie “Sonic the Hedgehog”; the sitcoms “Bob Hearts Abishola” and “Mixed-ish”; the legal thriller “How to Get Away With Murder”; and the Netflix reality show “Love Is Blind.” 

In “Joker,” a black woman is the main love interest for the central character, and let us not forget Will Ferrell and Kerry Washington recently played the characters of Tom and Helen Willis in a live version of “The Jeffersons” on ABC.

“I do think the ways that we are thinking about interracial relationships now, it’s about two consenting individuals’ choosing,” said Washington. Adding, “We’re in a moment of being able to really deal with the complicated nuance of two individuals coming together across cultural divides and choosing each other, both having free will.”

The Times article goes on to note that “Every once in a while, however, these fictionalized romances and reality show couples give us something to cheer for: a happily ever after in which the male partner acknowledges and begins to unravel his own racial privilege, not just out of love, but because it is the right thing to do.”

Read the full report here

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