What does Black Love look like? What does it mean it to you? The term itself is not a monolithic idea, and Tinder captures that with the help of legendary music video and film director, Director X, with a new original short titled Black Love Is.
The project made its debut Monday night (Feb.24) at a tastemaker celebration held at NeueHouse Hollywood, before its official launch today (Feb.25) on YouTube. In the roughly three-minute video, we follow a diverse group of Black people who each define what #BlackLoveIs to them.
Speaking with Director X, born Julien Christian Lutz, the former protegé of Hype Williams revealed how both he and Tinder came together for the collaboration that initially started out as a commercial but developed into something more.
“They reached out to my production company and said they wanted to make this commercial, and as we were developing it, I started to think we could do more than just interviews, we could really make it its own piece of art. So we got together.”
When breaking down the concept behind the short film, X explained that he wanted to push the limits with the project.
“Art develops, right? Unless your Nikola Tesla, you don’t really start at the finished product. So we started at ‘hey we wanna do these interviews with real people and talk about Black love and the experience of Blackness and all these kinds of things.’ As I thought about it, I began to think we could push the limits here with how screens work and how edits work, and I think this should be more of a contemporary art film. This should be something in a contemporary art gallery theater, and they went for it.”
Around the 45-second mark, the film goes in an interesting direction when everyone involved in the project begins talking at the same time as they explain what Black Love is to them. X explained in that particular moment he wanted to touch on the “largeness of our community,” but at the same time, focus on the individual by essentially hearing something that sticks out to you.
“I wanted to speak to the largeness of our community that way. There’s many voices, you can hear it, in the mix you can also hear the individuals. You can hear these little glimpses of what each individual story is that’s making this loud noise. That was the point there, it’s not about HEY I did this, and you get everyone’s little clip. That’s what we did with the opening, that’s what the Black Love bit was all about. But that experience, what that’s like, we all have had that experience.”
As far as the diverse cast, which does an excellent job of showcasing the many forms Black Love comes in when asked what the selection process was like. X just wanted interesting people with unique looks who were articulate, have an opinion, and represent the community.
Finally, when Director X was asked what #BlackLoveIs to him, he broke it down to one thing– the older generation learning to love.
“Black Love is learning to love, we gotta learn to love, especially my generation. There are still many issues with Black folks where it’s really not what it was. We progressed since I was a child. We had to learn. We had to learn to love ourselves. We had to learn how to love our people. We had to learn how to love our history. We had to learn how to love our culture. We were constantly learning to love ourselves. Black Love is learning to love.”
Well said X. You can watch the short film #BlackLoveIs below and feel free to let us know what the term means to you in the comment section.
Photo: Erik Umphery / Tinder