I LOVE love. I especially enjoy watching black love on screen. It's something I still don't think we see enough of these days. Creating the romantic roller coaster rides between our milk + honey characters is my favorite part of the process. I'm super excited and energized on the days we shoot Nia & Will, Samirah & Jace or Harper & Jonathan. You'll find me behind the monitor saying "Yaaaassss" & "Whew."
For Love of Ivy is one of my fave romantic movies. It's not a perfect movie, but it was groundbreaking on so many levels. Released in 1968, it was downright revolutionary. Sidney Poitier used the momentum of his fame to write and direct this passion project which was the first black romantic comedy. It was the first time a mature love relationship between a black man and woman was captured on the big screen.
Poitier's role as a sophisticated hustler was a delicious departure from his previously straight laced, morally perfect characters. When I first saw this movie, watching him blew me away. He played a suave black businessman who owned his space in the world and walked with his back erect in 1968. It is a depiction of a black man we rarely see in movies made TODAY about that time period. For the first time he got to be sexy and filmed in between the sheets.
He also wanted to bring a fuller image of a black woman to the screen. As the 2004 biography Sidney Poitier by Aram Goudsouzian explains, "Poitier wanted to present a more genuine black woman, an imperative guided by fatherhood...He wanted his girls to develop positive self-images. He also wished to stretch Hollywood's tight boundaries on black intimacy. So he coined his own story, featuring himself as a romantic hero. After three weeks of isolation in his study, he emerged with a nineteen-page outline called Ivy."
He wrote and directed the role for himself that no one else would. He didn't wait for it to be handed to him. He's a man after BPD's own collective heart.