This month on BlackLove.com, we are focusing on Self Love — ways to develop it in your life, and the ways in which your life can expand for the positive once loving yourself and listening to your needs becomes a lifestyle.
To help you develop this habit and start your new year right, the Black Love team has put together a list of five movies about self-love.
Directed by Tate Taylor, The Help hit screens in 2011 but takes us back to 1960s Mississippi. Renowned actresses Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Cicely Tyson fill out the cast of maids who decide to open up to Emma Stone, an aspiring writer, about their experiences caring for white women’s households. Despite the losses & injustices faced, these maids tell stories of resilience. Between their raised voices, careful protests, and “terrible, awful” slices of pie, it’s clear that it’s gonna take a lot to combat these women’s love for themselves and each other.
What’s Love Got to Do With It
Based on the book, I, Tina, Tina Turner’s worldwide best selling autobiography, What’s Love Got to Do With It is the 1993 true story of Tina Turner’s abusive first marriage to Ike Turner. Tina, played to perfection by Angela Bassett, goes from little Anna Mae Bullock, a southern girl singing in the church choir, to R&B singing sensation Tina Turner. But as her star rises, so does the vitriol of Ike, brought to life with a masterful performance by Laurence Fishburne. After years of making top charting music in tandem with endearing horrific abuse, Tina, in a harrowing scene, chooses self love, and goes on to become the powerhouse we know her to be today. The star-studded cast is rounded out by Jenifer Lewis and Vanessa Bell Calloway. What’s Love Got to Do With it is directed by Brian Gibson.
What will a little girl from inner city Chicago do to make her dreams come true? ANYTHING. Mahogany is the 1975 Diana Ross masterpiece about Tracy Chambers, a shopgirl and design student who believes that she is destined for better things. Directed by Berry Gordy, Mahogany makes the list because Ross’s Tracy has a healthy dose of self love and is constantly turning back to it when things don’t go as planned, including struggling as a design student, an ill-fated modeling career, an obsessive and abusive relationship with a former mentor, a near-fatal car accident, and an up and down romance with politician and activist Brian Walker, played by Billy Dee Williams (we won’t tell you if it ends on an up or a down). Through it all, Tracey puts love of self first, and with it, lives the life of her dreams.
“What happens when you give up on your dreams?” That’s the question Michael Nouri asked Jennifer Beals in her first starring role as young self-taught dancer Alex Owens. With dreams of joining the Pittsburgh ballet scene, as she welds steel by day and strips by night, Alex strives to balance her dreams, overcome her fears, and follow heart — because, “when you give up on your dreams, you die.” Bonus points for the fantastic dance-all-night soundtrack and the cut-out sweater that launched a fashion movement. Flashdance is directed by Adrian Lyne. (BTW, you can also catch Flashdance on our Top 12 List of Romance Movies.)
So, what does a romance-starved, successful, hard-working, single, thirsty, thirty-something woman to do on Valentine’s Day? That’s the question posed with the opening of Something New, the 2006 romantic comedy directed by Sanaa Hamri and starring Sanaa Lathan as Kenya McQueen, a successful accountant looking for love. After meeting landscape architect Brian Kelly, played by Simon Baker, Kenya finds herself opening up to all sorts of new experiences, including a romance with a kind of man she has never dated before. But this is BlackLove.com’s list of Self Love movies, not Romance movies, and the reason Something New makes the list is because, as much as it is a movie about a new romance, it is also the story of a woman breaking from what is expected of her from society and discovering, then marching to, the beat of her own drum.