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6 Reasons Why 'Sylvie's Love' Is An Authentic Representation Of Black Love

Photo: Amazon Prime
'Sylvie's Love'

Sylvie’s Love follows the gentle love story between Sylvie (Tessa Thompson) and Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha), a mismatched pair who find themselves entangled in a complicated romance during a hot Harlem summer in 1957.

Sparks fly between the star-crossed lovers at first sight, but their relationship isn't as straightforward as one might expect.

Sylvie comes from a bougie, middle-class family, while Robert is of the blue collar variety and has big dreams of becoming a legendary jazz musician. To make things worse, Sylvie's also engaged, with a fiancé pining over her across the seas in South Korea.

Unlike many other Black-centered movies where too often the plot is clouded by violence and grief, Sylvie’s Love is a much more authentic story, veering away from the tumultuous status quo of many others, which is such a relief. Praised by movie critics for being a well-crafted film that wonderfully rethinks the classic Hollywood melodrama, Sylvie’s Love does a good job of showing Black people just being happy, and in love.

Read on for six reasons why Sylvie's Love is an authentic representation of Black love:

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1. It shows Black love without Black trauma.

It’s very seldom when watching films about Black love that you’ll find the story not being tinged with an overwhelming amount of trauma.

Hollywood is used to making films about Black people where the overlining plot is death and hardship. But Sylvie’s Love isn’t that. It’s just two Black people falling in love. That’s it. It’s raw and emotional, but in the ways that any romance movie would be. 

2. Sylvie finds her own way.

In the movie, Sylvie has big dreams of working on a television show. In that time, of course, it wasn’t too common for Black women to do anything other than be wives, which was what Sylvie was much on her way to becoming.

Though, she doesn’t let that stigma stop her from going after a producer position for a popular cooking show. Historically, the storytelling formula of a woman forced to choose between life and love has been the realm of white women.

It’s extremely refreshing to see something of that nature go towards a Black woman who is also the lead narrator throughout the film.

3. Robert and his band traveled.

Robert, a saxophone player who is a part of a Black male quartet, has the opportunity in the movie to travel to Paris with his band.

Much too often, Black people aren’t afforded opportunities to be successful in the arts — at least, not in media. Watching a movie where the lead Black man is a musician (and a successful one at that) who is offered experiences to travel and play music all across the world is inspiring. 

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4. The movie was written and directed by a Black man.

Too often do we see Black movies in Hollywood being made by white people — from the script, to the directing, to the producing. 

Sylvie’s Love was directed by Eugene Ashe, and produced by Nnamdi Asomugha. The storytelling is done by Black people to Black people. There is nothing more amazing then knowing that such an authentic movie was curated by people who knew just how well to tell it.

5. It’s not some fantastical, over-exaggerated plot.

It’s simple. Robert and Sylvie falling in love. They share small glances and timid smiles in the beginning of their romance — something so real, and something so sweet.

They don’t rush anything, and there is absolutely no part of the movie that portrays their romance and platonic intimacy in trauma bonding. What you’re watching is simple: A Black movie about love.

6. The representation of jazz is amazing.

Jazz is a staple in Black culture, it was created as an important political outlet for African Americans, reaching as it did across the racial divide.

Not only did jazz become a political outlet for Black musicians, but for some it also provided incredible upward mobility and a possibility to transcend entrenched class barriers.

Too often is jazz consistently whitewashed in movies. And in film after film, African-Americans, who invented the music, get pushed to the margins when white characters don’t nudge them off screen altogether.

But in Sylvie’s Love, jazz is the forefront, and more importantly, Black musicians playing jazz is at the forefront. The music is amazing throughout, and it truly accompanies the tone of the plot. 

Sylvie’s Love is streaming now on Amazon Prime

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.