I love interracial relationships; let’s start with that. I believe the color of someone’s skin should not define any relationship. When I saw this movie on Netflix, I knew I had to watch it. My excitement for watching this movie made me want to write about it because I had a feeling it was going to be a good one, and here we are.
Rated: PG-13 (some sexual content and language)
Length: 1 hr. 40 min. (approximately)
Release Date: February 3, 2006
Director: Sanaa Hamri
Stars: Sanaa Lathan as Kenya McQueen and Simon Baker as Brian Kelly
Also stars: Mike Epps, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Blair Underwood, Golden Brooks, Taraji P. Henson, Donald Faison, Alfre Woodard amongst several others
*This is my first time dedicating an entire post to a review of one movie, so sorry if it’s choppy and a little all over the place.
The movie starts off with Kenya (the lead female role played by Sanaa Lathan) waking up on Valentine’s Day, so it turns out I watched this movie at the perfect time. After a long day of work, Kenya goes out for drinks with her girls, and most of the conversation is about finding their IBM (Ideal Black Man). As the conversation progresses, the idea of “Let go in order to let love flow” comes up, and I thought it was genius. You have to let go of your ideal perfect partner to find the perfect partner for you, which is very true. They shortened the initial statement by saying, “Let go and let flow,” and that’s been in the back of my head ever since I watched this movie four days ago.
Going further into the movie, Brian (the lead male role played by Simon Baker) and Kenya’s first date is a blind date. Before we get into that, I must say when I look at all the characters’ outfits, it’s crazy seeing how times have changed. It definitely doesn’t look bad, but people hardly dress this way anymore.
Anyway, going back to my original thought– the first meeting. Kenya and Brian met for the first time at a Starbucks, and I could feel the awkwardness all the way on my side of the screen. When Kenya started walking around and talking to different black people with Brian behind her, it was so uncomfortable. I had to pause the movie and kind of regroup because I couldn’t handle the uncomfortableness.
Long story short: their date didn’t last long, but as Hollywood would have it, they were destined to see each other again. Kenya moved into her first home and wanted some landscape work done on her backyard. Guess what? Brian is a landscape architect and ends up taking on the job. On the first day of the project, Brian takes Kenya to the community garden. Well, to keep a long story short (again), Kenya runs into a spider web and loses her mind, thinking a spider is on her. The following day, Brian sends Charlotte’s Web to her job as a gift, and I thought that was absolutely adorable.
*Side note: Brian Kelly (as played by Simon Baker) has such a soothing voice. Like, when he speaks, this is literally me:
I’ve told a teensy bit of the plot, but I want to sidetrack for a second if you don’t mind.
I wrote the previous statement as a transition into this paragraph because I think it would have been a little weird going into this next statement without some sort of plausible transition. Anyway, I think this movie definitely shows the reality of how some African American families, or families in general, act when you date/marry someone outside of your ethnicity. It becomes a big challenge for some couples. One thing I like that this movie does is talk about the differences in the races (was that a grammatically correct sentence? I don’t know). On more than one occasion, Kenya explains to Brian how African Americans (especially African American women) have to work really hard to prove themselves by saying statements such as, “Some of us have to work extra hard just to stay in the game.” She even goes on to explain Black Tax, “You have to work twice as hard just to prove yourself as equal.” This is something I am all too familiar with.
Let’s go back to the discussion of the progression of their relationship (yep, more of the plot is being told). Kenya hires Brian as her landscaper, and days pass before she lets him into her home. They order takeout and enjoy a bottle of wine before addressing the elephant in the room. Referring to the awkwardness of their initial meeting, Brian straightforwardly says, “So I take it you don’t do white guys.”
Kenya responds with, “I prefer black men. It’s not a prejudice, it’s a preference.”
Well, as the movie progresses, we learn Kenya indeed does do white guys. In my opinion, I think their first kiss is kind of random (like we got there a little too quickly). They were going hiking in a very beautiful place that I couldn’t recognize but would love to go to (Kenya was not wearing the proper hiking clothes, in my opinion). Before you know it, it starts pouring rain. Kenya freaks out about her hair, and they run to sit under a tree to take shelter from the rain (realistically, that’s very ineffective because you can still get wet under a tree). No words are spoken, and then they kiss. Just like that. Cut to the next scene, and Brian is dropping Kenya off at her home. Kenya says, “Don’t think this is going any further because it’s not” as she gets out of his vehicle. Next thing you know, he knocks on her door. She opens it, and they start making out. Then they are having sex (don’t worry; it’s not a Fifty Shades of Grey sex scene).
Cut to the morning after, and Brian is lovingly tracing the lines of her face, which melts my heart. I think it is so beautiful when guys do that; don’t ask me why. Then he asks about her hair, and she flips her lid and fires him; the heart-melting moment ends quickly. Honestly, the movie continues in this sort of pattern: They argue (and the arguments are always somehow related to a race). One of them calls it off. Something happens where they end up back together.
There comes a point in the movie when they are together, and Brian has finished his landscaping job on her house. Kenya hosts a family and friends get together. The way her family and friends treated Brian is very accurate to how some families are when you introduce someone outside of your ethnicity. It was uncomfortable and slightly disheartening; it hurts my heart people treat others that way. Love is love.
The uncomfortableness increased when Kenya’s brother Nelson (played by Donald Faison) introduces Kenya to a black man named Mark (Brian isn’t around when this occurs). Mark is essentially Kenya’s IBM, but as they get together (Brian and Kenya were off again), she realizes her IBM isn’t who she actually wants. Feeling lost and confused about these emotions, Kenya talks to her friend Cheryl (played by Wendy Raquel Robinson) and Cheryl’s boyfriend, Walter (played by Mike Epps).
A piece of wisdom Walter shares is “At the end of the day, it’s not about skin color or race. It’s about the love connection, the vibe that’s between a man and a woman.” In two sentences, Walter explained exactly how I view interracial relationships. The color of someone’s skin or someone’s ethnicity should not be the determining factor in any relationship. If you love each other, that’s what matters.
I’m sure you can guess how the movie ends so I won’t spoil it for you; there are still several points in the plot I left out, and I for sure recommend watching this movie, especially if you also love romantic movies and interracial relationships. Though a couple parts of the movie seemed to go slightly fast, I guarantee I will be watching Something New again, and I honestly might even try to find it on DVD.