19 Best Black Romance Movies

Best Black Romance Movies

Are you in the mood for romance? Black romance movies explore dating, marriage, and love, focusing on the unique Black experience.

Whether you want to watch a dramatic love story, lightweight rom-com, or something else, you’ll find no shortage of options, including films featuring Angela Bassett, Janet Jackson, Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, and many others.

Here are the top picks!

Poetic Justice (1993)

Poetic Justice (1993)

Musical talent doesn’t always translate to success on the silver screen, but both Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur deliver star-making turns in 1993’s Poetic Justice.

Written and directed by John Singleton, the film charts the romance between Justice (Jackson), a reclusive hairdresser, and Lucky (Shakur), a postal worker struggling to raise his daughter.

As in many of Singleton’s films, the city of Los Angeles also plays a key role. Justice, Lucky, and two friends take a road trip from South Central to Compton, making various stops along the way.

Throughout the film, Justice reads several pieces of poetry, both through narration and in scenes. Legendary poet Maya Angelou wrote all of the poetry used in the film and appeared as Justice’s Aunt June in a cameo.

Upon release, reviews weren’t particularly positive, with many critics disappointed that the film didn’t match the quality of Singleton’s previous movie, Boyz n the Hood. However, the film’s reception has improved over time, with many audiences falling in love with its warm performances and slow pace.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)

How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)

One of the all-time Black love movie classics, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, is a fanciful tale of a woman who finds love in paradise with a younger man.

Stella, portrayed by Angela Bassett in an iconic role, is a 40-year-old stockbroker with a son and a stable life. She takes her first vacation in years to Jamaica, where she meets and then falls in love with Winston, a handsome 20-year-old islander.

Does Stella’s life have room for both love and responsibility? The movie explores what happens when she tries to build a life back home with her new beau.

Aside from Bassett, How Stella Got Her Groove Back also stars Taye Diggs (in his first feature film role), Whoopi Goldberg, and Regina King.

Just Wright (2010)

Just Wright (2010)

Make way for the Queen! Just Wright stars Queen Latifah as Leslie Wright, a New Jersey physical therapist who falls in love with a professional basketball player under her care.

Latifah doesn’t often play the romantic lead, but she radiates natural charisma in the role. Her love interest, played by Common, is also well-cast. Special mention goes to Paula Patton, who deftly pulls off a tricky role of both romantic rival and scorned woman.

Just Wright didn’t make a big splash when released in theaters, landing in fourth place at the box office behind Iron Man 2 and other tentpole films. But the movie has found fans over time, drawn to the chemistry of the leads and the fun (if lightweight) plot.

Fun fact: the original cut of the movie featured a courtside scene with Kanye West and then-girlfriend Amber Rose. However, between shooting and release, Kanye famously interrupted Taylor Swift during the 2009 MTV Movie Awards, and producers decided to cut his cameo from the film.

Love and Basketball (2000)

Love and Basketball (2000)

Another romantic movie with a sports focus, Love and Basketball, follows the lives of Quincy and Monica, two childhood friends who pursue their basketball dreams while navigating an on-again, off-again relationship.

The movie is divided into four quarters, allowing us to see the two main characters as kids, high schoolers, college students, and adults. For most of the story, Quincy and Monica are played by Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan, who bring sizzling chemistry to their roles.

Although Love and Basketball received positive reviews and had a strong showing at the box office, its popularity increased dramatically over time. Today, it’s considered an enormously influential cult classic, cited as an inspiration by filmmakers including Issa Rae and Stella Meghie.

Moonlight (2016)

Moonlight (2016)

While perhaps not the best option for a casual date night, Moonlight is a powerful and heartbreaking story about the power of love. It’s about a young man named Chiron growing up in poverty in Miami while struggling to accept his homosexuality.

Strong performances drive the movie, especially Mahershala Ali, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Juan, a crack dealer who becomes a surrogate father to young Chiron.

The movie earned a variety of rave reviews and awards while also marking several cinematic milestones. It won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (for Ali), and Best Adapted Screenplay. It’s also the first Best Picture winner to feature an all-Black cast and LGBTQ themes.

The Wood (1999)

The Wood (1999)

When Roland gets cold feet on his wedding day, it’s up to his two best friends to find him and save his future marriage. The Wood tells the tale of Roland, Slim, and Mike, three childhood buddies who grew up together in Inglewood, California.

The film is a comedy-drama with a warm heart. It alternates between the trio as adults and as kids, with a large focus on their relationships with the women in their lives.

It’s a great romantic movie to watch with guys who don’t necessarily like romantic movies, as the portrayal of male friendship is authentic, amusing, and relatable.

The Wood stars Omar Epps, Richard Jones, Taye Diggs, and Sanaa Lathan. The excellent work by the younger actors is also worth noting.

The Brothers (2001)

The Brothers (2001)

If you liked The Wood, you’d also like The Brothers, another movie focusing on a group of childhood friends and their adventures in life and love. It’s a comedy-drama starring Morris Chestnut, DL Hughley, Bill Bellamy, and Shemar Moore.

The film has an interesting structure that intertwines each character’s story from childhood to adulthood, with an emphasis on first girlfriends, marriage, and other relationship milestones.

The movie touches on serious themes while maintaining strong comedic elements. It’s often referred to as Waiting to Exhale for men.

If you’re a fan of hip-hop and rap from the early 2000s, check out the film’s soundtrack, featuring songs from Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri, and Eric Benet.

Think Like a Man (2012)

Think Like a Man (2012)

Think Like a Man is an ensemble rom-com based on Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. It’s packed with star power, including Gabrielle Union, Michael Ealy, Taraji P. Henson, Regina Hall, and Kevin Hart.

Each of the four couples in the film gets their own storyline, each focusing on a different dating or relationship advice from the book. The movie gets meta by having each character learn the advice by reading Steve Harvey’s book, which is conveyed through narration by the comedian himself.

While critics complained about the formulaic plot, this light and breezy comedy found success among audiences. It’s an excellent Black romance movie for first dates, date nights, or a girl’s night in.

Jason’s Lyric (1994)

Jason's Lyric (1994)

If you’re looking for a Black romantic movie with a more serious edge, check out Jason’s Lyric, a poignant and sometimes-violent drama. The story follows the lives of two brothers, Jason (Allen Payne) and Joshua (Bokeem Woodbine). The first chose an honest life while the latter turned to crime.

Jason’s budding romance with the beautiful Lyric (Jada Pinkett Smith) threatens to implode when they learn each of their brothers is planning to rob a bank together. Additionally, the movie explores the mystery of whether Jason or Joshua killed their violent father many years earlier.

Critical reception was generally positive, although many critics noted that the movie could sometimes feel overstuffed with plot. Legendary reviewer Roger Ebert praised the film enthusiastically, noting the cast performances and “lyrical touches” of director Doug McHenry.

The soundtrack is an eclectic mix of classic funk and modern R&B, featuring numerous big artists of the era, including LL Cool J, Brian McKnight, and Tone! Tony! Tone!. It reached #17 on the Billboard 200.

Boomerang (1992)

Boomerang (1992)

Eddie Murphy ruled the box office in the 80s, but don’t overlook some of his work from the 90s, including his romantic comedy Boomerang. It’s hilarious, surprisingly touching, and definitely adults only!

Murphy stars as Marcus Graham, a big-time ad exec and full-time womanizer. However, his no-strings-attached lifestyle changes when he falls for his new boss, Jacqueline Boyer, played by Robin Givens. The only problem is that Boyer is a “love ’em and leave ’em” type herself, playing with Marcus’ heart to gain an advantage at work.

Boomerang has an impressive pedigree both in front of and behind the camera. Screenwriters Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield had worked with Murphy since his time on Saturday Night Live, while director Reginald Hudlin was fresh off the success of 1990’s House Party.

The cast features comedy giants and notable stars, including Halle Berry, David Alan Grier, Martin Lawrence, and a young Chris Rock.

Two Can Play That Game (2001)

Two Can Play That Game (2001)

Like Boomerang, Two Can Play That Game is a classic “turnabout is fair play” Black romance movie. Vivica A. Fox stars as Shante, a successful woman who develops a Ten Day Plan to keep her boyfriend in line after she catches him out on the town with his female co-worker.

The plot is predictable and at times far-fetched, but ultimately the movie succeeds as a lighthearted rom-com about the games men and women play in relationships.

Two Can Play That Game is driven by winning performances from stars Fox, Morris Chestnut, Gabrielle Union, and Anthony Anderson.

Fans of the film should also check out the 2008 sequel, Three Can Play That Game. Although not quite as strong as the first, it’s still a fun look at the further adventures of Shante, again played by Fox.  

Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married (2007)

Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married (2007)

People tend to either love or hate Tyler Perry movies, but Why Did I Get Married is one of his most accessible. Whether they’re normally fans of Perry or not, audiences relate to the story of four couples who meet in a cabin once a year to hang out and help each other figure out life. It stars Tyler Perry, Janet Jackson, Michael Jai White, and more.

The story touches on many relationship issues, including infidelity, loss of love, and even situations such as what happens when one spouse’s physical appearance changes. It’s an elaborate blend of interconnected stories that deftly blends romance, comedy, and intrigue.

Why Did I Get Married is based on an original play written by Perry years earlier. Notably, he removed many of the play’s church and spiritual references while also rewriting several scenes.

Three years later, the cast reunited for Why Did I Get Married Too?, which saw the characters tackle new issues during a marriage retreat in the Bahamas and back in their home city of Atlanta. Additionally, Perry revisited the premises, with a different title, in the TBS sitcom Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse.

God Send Me a Man (2010)

God Send Me a Man (2010)

One reason audiences responded so favorably to Why Did I Get Married is because many scenes captured the intimacy of the original play. God Send Me a Man has a similar energy, as it’s a filmed live play.

It stars Robin Givens, Evangeline Gabriel Young, and even late comedian Clifton Powell. The story follows Givens through a series of failed relationships as she searches for love, eventually finding it with one of her closest, formerly-platonic friends.

The subject matter is realistic but also uplifting and spiritual. While the story does involve issues such as teen pregnancy and infidelity, the movie is still appropriate for most teenagers and includes many Christian themes.

Jungle Fever (1991)

Jungle Fever (1991)

Spike Lee’s early 90s classic Jungle Fever remains as engaging and thought-provoking today as when it was released. It delivers a powerful story buoyed by solid performances from an incredible cast.

Wesley Snipes stars as Flipper, a successful attorney who begins an affair with his white secretary, played by Annabella Sciorra. An intricate exploration of interracial relationships, drug addiction, workplace racism, and more follows.

Jungle Fever finds Lee at the height of his directing and storytelling powers. Aside from Snipes and Sciorra, the stellar cast includes Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, John Turturro, Halle Berry, and more. One particular standout is Samuel L. Jackson in what’s considered his breakout role.

Jackson plays Gator, the crack-addicted brother of Flipper. Jackson’s real-life struggles influenced his kinetic and volatile performance as someone in the depths of addiction, having completed rehab for crack addiction shortly before filming began.

She’s Gotta Have It (1986)

She's Gotta Have It (1986)

Speaking of Lee, his debut feature, She’s Gotta Have It, is also widely considered one of the best Black romance movies. Shot in black-and-white with a minuscule budget, it’s an intimate portrait of love from the perspective of a young woman living in Brooklyn.

Tracy Camilla Jones stars as Nola Darling, a free-spirited graphic artist dating three different men: vapid model Greer (John Canada Terrell), bike messenger Mars (Lee), and excessively-polite Jamie (Tommy Redmond Hicks).

The story is a detailed and realistic examination of romance, sexual relationships, fidelity, and more. It’s easy to see why the then-unknown Lee catapulted to fame.

She’s Gotta Have It grossed over $7.1 million from a meager budget of only $175,000.

The Best Man (1999)

The Best Man (1999)

Did you know Spike Lee’s cousin, Malcolm Lee, is also an accomplished filmmaker? He’s the writer and director behind The Best Man, a comedy-drama centered around college friends who reunite at a wedding.

Taye Diggs stars as Harper, an up-and-coming author who is reluctant to marry his long-term girlfriend, Robyn, portrayed by Sanaa Lathan. While attending the wedding of Lance (Morris Chestnut) and Mia (Monica Calhoun), the group of friends must confront shocking revelations about their collective history.

The Best Man deftly switches between laughs, drama, and romance while also providing an intriguing look into the lives of upwardly mobile Black characters. It’s also notable as both the first starring role for Taye Diggs and the breakout role for a young Terrence Howard.

Malcolm Lee went on to direct multiple famous comedies such as Scary Movie 5, Undercover Brother, and Night School. The Best Man is his only romantic drama, although he handles the material with sophistication.

Hitch (2005)

Hitch (2005)

Hitch poses the question: Does anyone truly understand romance? Will Smith stars as Alex “Hitch” Hitchens, a professional dating coach who helps insecure guys attract the women of their dreams.

After a newspaper article misleads the public into believing Hitch runs a sleazy hook-up business, he faces problems both professionally and personally. He struggles to save his reputation, help his client-turned-friend Albert (Kevin James), and woo his love interest, Sara (Eva Mendes).

Even if you’re not familiar with the movie, you might have heard Hitch’s famous rule for kissing, which states that a man must come forward 90% of the way. Unfortunately for Hitch, his student Albert goes too far, resulting in a hilarious smooch between Smith and James.

With winning performances and an engaging, fast-paced story, Hitch delivers both heart and laughs. It’s a black romance movie the whole family can enjoy together.

Love Jones (1997)

Love Jones (1997)

Love Jones presents a smart, layered love story between successful Black professionals in 1990s Chicago. Lorenz Tate stars as Darius, a poet who meets Nina, a photographer, one night in an upscale nightclub called The Sanctuary.

Although their romance starts out sizzling, their new relationship soon encounters problems, including Nia’s inconsistent feelings towards her ex and Darius’ fear of commitment.

The characters and setting offer a fresh take on the standard romantic fair, showcasing Black creative professionals from middle-class backgrounds. Both Lorenz Tate and Nia Long demonstrate impressive range beyond their previous performances in Menace II Society and Boyz n the Hood.

With a commitment towards realism instead of Hollywood tropes, Love Jones is thought-provoking, memorable, and surprisingly warm. Producers later stated they wanted to make a black love story that didn’t have a backdrop of gangs and drugs.

Waiting to Exhale (1995)

Waiting to Exhale (1995)

Waiting to Exhale touched audiences around the world, especially Black women, who saw their trials and tribulations in love and romance projected on the big screen in a way seldom seen before.

The romantic drama stars Angela Bassett, Whitney Houston, Loretta Devine, and Leia Rochon. They play four women with various relationship problems, including one dating a married man, another with a recently out-of-the-closet husband, and more.

Forest Whitaker made his directorial debut, working from a screenplay by Terry McMillan, who adapted her own best-selling novel. The movie is a celebration of not just romantic love but also the intense love found in friendship.

The movie was a box-office hit, earning over $67 million domestically. A planned sequel, based on McMillan’s novel Getting to Happy, ultimately fell through after the death of Whitney Houston in 2012. 

Best Black Love Movies Ever, Final Thoughts

Black filmmakers and performers have crafted a wide range of critically and commercially successful romantic movies that focus on the Black experience. Whether you want to laugh at the romantic foibles we all share or feel moved by a sweeping drama; you’ll find no shortage of powerful and entertaining films with romance at their heart.

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