by j. brotherlove
Recently, I caught the independent film The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks, gaining buzz on the festival route. Jay Brooks is a clever romantic comedy addressing race, class, and cultural identity while serving as calling card for the blipster scene; a sort of Chasing Amy meets Hav Plenty.
Anthony Montgomery stars as Jay Brooks, a black, story board artist and comic/sci-fi junkie in Los Angeles. His world is decidedly absent of traditional African American flair, especially when it comes to women. Jay only dates white women and his relationships always end with him crafting clumsy Dear John letters.
Despite an obvious fear of commitment, Jay believes his women problems are related to their skin color. He confides with soon-to-be-married best friend Drake, that dating a “sista” is the answer to his relationship woes. Drake knows the problem lies with Jay but supports his friend on “Operation Brown Sugar”.
But unlike Drake, Jay doesn’t have the corporate/alpha male credentials he thinks black women look for in a man. After a familiar, unproductive dating roundtable, Jay happens upon Catherine Williamson (portrayed by Lia Johnson). Catherine is a quirky biracial writer with multicolored dreads and Valley Girl accent.
Jay immediately zeros in on Catherine, utilizing Mars Blackmon-style begging to win her over. The couple embark on a quick courtship, sharing one another’s addiction to cigarettes, wine and quirky, artistic expression. But will it last?
Meanwhile, Jay’s white roommate takes a crash course on hip hop to woo a girl and Drake’s uppity fiance is convinced her wedding will be ruined by her “ghetto” in-laws. Jay Brooks does a good job of keeping the tone light while balancing romance, slapstick and traditional and nontraditional black experiences.
The romantic comedy (alternatively titled I’m Through With White Girls) was written by Courtney Lilly and directed by Jennifer Sharp. Watch the trailer and the catch it at your local film festival. Judging from audience reaction, a distribution deal shouldn’t be far behind.
thanks for posting this, i will look out for it. i was just having a conversation with friends about a similar topic and how there needs to be more outlets for us to explore interests outside the “mainstream black experience”. i think there are so many variations of our experience that get lost in the mix due to the rigid expectations to follow the rest of the group. what ends up happening to some is that it almost forces us to choose between being a part of the black community and subscribing to its norms, or leaving it in some ways (dating, family, religion, politics) because there’s little room for a diverse perspective or experience.
just my 2 cents.