10 Black Love Movies To Add to Your Valentine’s Day Line Up
The chilly winter weather is set to stay for at least a few weeks. Still, at least there’s romance brewing in the air to help keep you warm. With the love holiday creeping around the corner, both singles and couples are planning how they’ll be spending Valentine’s Day this year. Reservations at your favorite restaurant, a romantic getaway, or a spa date can all help bring you closer to your friends and lovers – but so can watching a movie together at home.
In more recent years, performers like Daniel Kaluuya, Issa Rae, LaKeith Stanfield, and Zendaya have been at the forefront of the industry, showing how many different shades of Black love exist. Before today’s stars rose to fame, it was Queen Latifah and Janet Jackson giving some of the most memorable cinematic performances. Our list has something for everyone to enjoy, no matter your age or relationship status.
10. Resort to Love (2021)
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Sinqua Walls caught our attention last year while starring opposite Jack Harlow in the White Men Can’t Jump remake, but before that, he and Christina Milan appeared in Netflix’s Resort to Love. The 2021 romantic comedy stars the latter as Erica, a performer whose career has been faced with some speed bumps as of late. To maintain her lavish lifestyle, she half-heartedly agrees to a gig at an island resort. Little does Erica know that the event is in celebration of her ex-fiancé’s wedding, which makes for one hell of a night. Other familiar faces in the cast include Jay Pharoah, Christiani Pitts, and Alexander Hodge.
9. Lovers Rock (2020)
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
If you want to experience the rush of a Reggae party without leaving your house this Valentine’s Day, Amazon Prime’s Lovers Rock can take you there, though it’ll require a trip back a few decades. The Steve McQueen-directed and co-written story is a part of BBC One’s anthology series Small Axe, but its 68-minute runtime makes it the perfect short film to pop on while enjoying your favorite dessert after a romantic dinner. Michael Ward and Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn take the lead in Lovers Rock, playing Franklyn Cooper and Martha Trenton – two sweethearts that connect in 1980s West London.
8. Queen & Slim (2019)
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Forget Bonnie & Clyde, Queen & Slim are the new must-watch duo for your Valentine’s date night. The 2019 film stars fan favorite Daniel Kaluuya opposite Jodie Turner-Smith as they find their flirtatious evening out ruined by a run-in with an aggressive police officer. With a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the Melina Matsoukas-directed project is sure to have you feeling every emotion. From spine-chilling anxiety while our lead performers evade the authorities to swimming deep in your emotions as you remember just how powerful love can be, Queen & Slim is a total rollercoaster.
7. The Photograph (2020)
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Who doesn’t love a little Issa Rae? The Insecure creator and starlet is best known for taking on comedic roles; The Photograph sees her serious side shine. The film boasts music curated by Robert Glasper and hit theaters on Valentine’s Day of 2020. This makes it the perfect 2024 pick for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Rae plays Mae Morton, a woman left in emotional turmoil after the death of her estranged father. As the title suggests, the discovery of an old picture leads Morton on a trail of her mother’s past. She then ultimately connects with a handsome journalist on the rise (LaKeith Stanfield) on her quest for answers.
6. Why Did I Get Married? (2007) & Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010)
IMDb: 5.9/10 & 4.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 78% & 68%
If you’re planning a movie night as part of your Valentine’s festivities, a double feature may be your best bet. Keep the whole crowd laughing with Tyler Perry’s 2007 classic, Why Did I Get Married? and its 2010 sequel. Both feature multi-talent icon Janet Jackson alongside a star-studded cast. Rather than depicting the ups and downs of Black love for one couple, this throwback follows a group of married friends on vacation. When a cheating scandal between one pair breaks loose, it causes others to ponder the flaws in their relationships.
5. Malcolm & Marie (2021)
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Netflix unleashed Malcolm & Marie, a sensual, minimalistic story told by Zendaya and John David Washington. It was filmed entirely in black and white, adding to the script’s moodiness, which was written by director Sam Levinson. He and Z have frequently collaborated in the past, most notably on HBO’s boundary-pushing Euphoria series. Their 2021 project finds the actress playing the girlfriend of a filmmaker (Washington) as tension rises in their relationship in tandem with his career’s success.
4. Last Holiday (2006)
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Christmas has come and gone, but if you still have some festive cheer left in you, Last Holiday is a great movie to check out. The Queen Latifah-led romantic comedy came out nearly two decades ago and was one of Halle Bailey’s first acting roles. Besides The Little Mermaid starlet and rap icon, LL Cool J also stars as Sean Matthews – Georgia Byrd’s (Latifah) longtime crush. When she gets word that a terminal illness is bound to end her life soon, Byrd flies to Europe and spends her life savings on lavish experiences to send herself off with a bang. The one thing missing from her life? Love, of course.
3. Southside with You (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
It wasn’t all that long ago that Michelle was standing proudly beside her husband, President Barack Obama, in the White House, setting a strong example of Black love for people all around the world. Though they remain active in the political and creative communities, many miss the stability that the pair had to offer America. While they have a strong relationship now, the former FLOTUS has spoken candidly about the ups and downs she and Barack faced in their marriage before he was elected. In 2016’s Southside With You, we see how the emblematic duo first met in Chicago in the late 80s, long before politics, marriage, and two children.
2. Poetic Justice (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
For the second time on our list, Janet Jackson is here to tell another story of Black love. While she got to show off her comedic timing in Perry’s movies, 1993’s Poetic Justice is a darker story directed by John Singleton. The former child star stuns in the role of Justice, a young woman leaning into her poetry writing after tragically losing her boyfriend to murder. She’s reluctant to open her heart again after enduring so much pain, but when a friend, Iesha (Regina King) introduces her to Lucky (Tupac Shakur), everything Justice thought she knew is called into question.
1. Guava Island (2019)
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Anyone who’s craving a taste of sweet summer in the middle of winter will want to add Amazon Prime Video’s Guava Island to their list. The 2019 movie is just one of Donald Glover’s projects shared on the streamer (in early 2023 his Swarm series broke the internet), starring the “Redbone” singer, Rihanna, and Black Panther star Letitia Wright. If you and your lover are music fans, we can guarantee your spirits will be high as you watch the cast organize a festival and free themselves from oppression.