Ah, the black love story. It is de rigueur for black actors and the bane of existence for black audiences with discriminating taste, but it has become the necessary evil for anyone that wants to see people of color portrayed in a positive light on the big screen. “Love Jones” is the first black love story that I can recall and unfortunately every movie since then has followed the same formula. Beautiful boy meets beautiful girl, but boy has trouble keeping the girl because of his philandering ways. Girl leaves boy and seeks refuge in the arms of another while constantly seeking counsel from her girlfriends who aren’t credible or dependable. But leave it to Tyler Perry to breathe life into a dead genre.In his latest film, “Why Did I Get Married?” Perry introduces us to a trio of upper-middle class married friends who take group vacations every year to consider why they got married, confront the issues they have in their marriages and hold each other accountable for the stability of their unions. He assembles a wonderful cast including a post-wardrobe malfunction Janet Jackson; R&B songstress Jill Scott; the man formerly known as “Spawn”, Michael Jai White; Tyra Banks’ B.F.F, Tasha Smith; heartthrobs Malik Yoba and Richard T. Jone; and relative newcomers to the big screen Denise Boutte and Sharon Leal. And lest I forget, Perry is in the film as well. He is also the writer, director and producer—how is that possible?View the trailer here, and then click “continue reading this post.”The film explores the deeper issues of marriage such as infidelity, emotional abuse, coping with the loss of a child and the imbalance that occurs when one spouse wants children more than the other one does. Perry presents these issues in no normal fashion. Instead of exposing the issues from the onset of the movie—or in the trailers, he deals the audience a blow by dropping these issue bombs at the most unlikely time—you’ll have to see it to believe it. Additionally, Perry takes the weight off of men as the troublemakers in marriage and makes the women burden-bringers. The women in this film wear the pants, are obsessed with career and bring more drama than a little bit to the screen.Save for some incredibly bad acting—the audience actually booed and hissed at the screen in my theatre—by Janet Jackson and Malik Yoba at a moment where they needed to channel their innermost being, the film was actually groundbreaking in its portrayal of black marriage. I was hopeful while watching the women work at trying to become better wives and I was also able to find myself in each of the female characters and identify areas that could use a tune-up. The film will give single women tips on how not to conduct themselves in marriage and will remind married people that communication is of the utmost importance.Lastly a Perry film could not be so if God wasn’t in thrown in the mix. But instead of using God’s name gratuitously—if that is possible—Perry let the concept of forgiveness and the power of love reign supreme throughout the film making it palatable for the believer while not isolating non-believers. For the believer’s sake, if I could use one scripture to sum up the message of this movie, it would be I Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

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