Written by Jaime Blanson
Black lesbian love is mostly invisible. At least in mainstream media. It’s not very often you turn on the TV or go to a movie and see couples in love that look like us. There’s something pretty validating, powerful and educational about seeing us experience the highs and lows of love on screen.
So grab your popcorn and cue up Netflix! Here are five of our favorite on screen black lesbian couples and the lessons we’ve learned from them:
1. In The Wire, a TV crime drama set in Baltimore, we meet Detective Kima Greggs (Sonja Sohn) and partner Cheryl (Melanie Nicholls-King). Kima agrees to start a family only to later realize that motherhood isn’t a great fit for her.
The Lesson: It’s important that you and your partner are on the same page especially when making life-changing decisions.
Communication is crucially important to healthy relationship especially if you are contemplating bringing a child into the picture.
2. In Stud Life, a movie about lesbian wedding photographer JJ (T’Nia Miller) who allows her new relationship with Elle (Robyn Kerr) to siphon all of her attention, leaving her BFF Seb (Kyle Treslove) out in the cold.
The Lesson: Don’t let your new relationship cost you old friends.
Even if you’re in the honeymoon phase of the relationship, you still have to remember the people that were there for you before her and will likely be there, with a jar of Nutella and their Netflix password, after she breaks your heart.
3. In Pariah, a coming of age film about 17-year-old Alike (Adepero Oduye) learning the ways of lesbian life. After she loses her virginity to classmate, Bina (Aasha Davis), who acts distant and cold towards her the morning after.
The Lesson: Ensure that your first time is with someone special.
You only get one first time. Save it for someone that actually cares about you.
4. Set It Off, a big screen film about Cleo (Queen Latifah) and her three friends who decide to take up bank robbing, which eventually leaves Cleo’s partner, Ursula (Samantha MacLachlan) single and mourning.
The lesson: Take time to learn about your partner and her hobbies.
Listen, if your partner’s interests include illegal activity, an eagerness to exercise the second amendment in unlawful ways, and an affinity for hard liquor, it’s probably best to break it off as soon as possible, lest you be indicted as an accessory.
5. In She Hate Me, Fatima (Kerry Washington) begins the movie as a lesbian in a stable relationship with Alex (Dania Ramirez), although she was previously engaged to Jack (Anthony Mackie). By the film’s end, Fatima is in a polyamorous relationship and co-parents with both Alex and Jack.
The Lesson: Be open to trying new things in your relationship.
I am not advocating for you to introduce a third party into your relationship. I am saying that if your partner wants to spice things up, why not give it a whirl? As long as you have a predetermined safe word and a sufficient amount of lube, it should all turn out fine.
Jaime is a film student who runs lavandnoir.com, a blog where she documents female LGBTQIA characters in cinema and TV.