When imagining Black love, "the burnt crispies in the macaroni and cheese" might not be the first thought that comes to mind. Yet it perfectly captures the relationship — crispy, creamy, delicious and satisfying.
On February 25, networking and dating app Tinder published the mac and cheese analogy along with other Black love descriptions, in a short film called #BlackLoveIs. The project highlights Black couples and singles, who share their experiences on the topic. In the video, participants compare the sensation to everything from "cornbread" and "a party" to "tears" and "understanding."
In order to articulate the many variants of Black love, Tinder collaborated with music video and film director Julien Christian Lutz, more commonly known as Director X.
"I've always felt it's important to have a range to represent all of us," the famed director told Blavity. "Whenever I can paint that picture properly, I take the opportunity because I know we don't always get those images. We don't always get those moments."
Director X has made a consistent effort to break the stereotypical dark-skinned man and light-skinned woman relationship goal that Hollywood has traditionally portrayed. Some of our favorite music videos from the early 2000s such as Mystikal's "Shake Ya Ass," Sean Paul's "Gimme The Light" and Mario's "Let Me Love You" feature distinctly brown-skinned women — all thanks to Director X. With the #BlackLoveIs project, he has once again given a platform to Black groups that Hollywood often underrepresents.
The film compiles narratives from diverse genders and sexualities. While listening to each story, we get a sense of the vast differences that shape the Black community. However, there's still a strong connection and underlying current that pulls everyone together. It's complex and simple at the same time.
"There's a wide-ranging world out there when it comes to Black people, Black love, the Black experience," Director X said. "Even though not everyone is in [the film], you get that the walls are much larger."
Creating an art piece that narrows down the assortment of Black love isn't an easy task, but it's one that Director X seems to have mastered. After all, he's had over two decades to do it. When he recalls his two favorite music video projects that capture Black love, Usher's "U Got It Bad" and Donell Jones' "Where I Wanna Be," it's clear Director X knows how to translate the story.
He doesn't try to romanticize the experience. Similar to his Tinder project, Director X highlights the ups and downs that general love entails. However, Black love on film has a distinct powerful appeal. Maybe we gravitate toward it because of its scarce representation in media — or maybe it's just that bomb. Whatever the case, Director X's video shows that "Black love is ours."
YouTube | Tinder
"For me, Black love is learning to love," Director X said. "When I was young the world really told you you were less than...you had to learn to love yourself, you had to learn to love your people, you had to learn to love your history, you had to learn to love your background."