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Commentary: Why Black Women Relate to 'SATC 2'

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I have a secret, a secret I wouldn't dare mention until this past weekend was over. I was never a "Sex and The City" fan when the show appeared on HBO, and I just didn't understand all the hoopla. So, as many women across the nation prepared themselves for the premiere of "Sex and the City 2" on Memorial Day weekend I decided to find out what all the fuss was about. Friday night, after turning down my girlfriends, aka "Sex and the City" fiends, I opted to go solo. Arriving at a very quaint movie theater in a predominantly White neighborhood, I was surprised to see a crowd full of predominantly Black women waiting in a ridiculously long at 11 pm, for an 11:30 pm showtime. The majority of the beautiful brown faces in the crowd belonged to women in their late 20s and early 30s, dressed as if they were going out for dinner and dancing. Most were accompanied by females of a similar age, or gay Black men who were just as excited to see the film. As I looked at the myriad of brown faces in line, my mind mulled over a serious question: Why are so many Black women able to relate to a film that features the fictitious lives of four White women, with not one single Black woman making an appearance that lasted longer than one line in the film? See, I reasoned with myself two years ago that most Black women went to see the first installment because of Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson. Yet after seeing her lackluster performance months after it left movie theaters, I realized it wasn't J. Hud that had my friends confessing they owned the DVD and had watched the film an endless amount times. I had a hard time comprehending why this time around, without even have an ounce of color in it (except the glittery gold Louboutin piagelle pumps, or Miranda's signature red mane), Black women were so compelled to support a film so devoid of diversity. "'Sex and the City' is not a White thing, it's a girl thing," said Lori Holmes, 26, a grad student from Kean University in NJ. "Everyone understands relationships, you forget race when you understand Carrie's lessons," But I wasn't buying it. If that were the case -- and it was really all about women relating to other women -- then why haven't I heard White viewers discussing the super successful TV series "Girlfriends, which is largely based on the "Sex and the City" premise, with the same passion? "Girlfriends" featured four very attractive fashion-forward Black women who dealt with relationship problems just like Carrie and her crew. If in fact it was a "girl thing," then "Girlfriends: The Movie" should be in pre-production. "Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte are all a version of me and my homegirls," Taneka Blunt, 24 said of the cast, "And, they are just way too fly not to watch." After viewing the movie I couldn't argue with either of Blunt's statements. The fashion in the film is stellar. I couldn't take away from the fact that a majority of women, no matter what their color, love to shop and the movie was equivalent to spending two and half hours at a ritzy mall. As far as all the characters reminding us of friends we know, I agree -- to an extent. Each woman has distinct personality traits that are relatable, but I don't think, culturally speaking, everything about the characters translated. For instance, we all may have that one timid Charlotte-esque friend. But, when it came to her style of parenting her two daughters, any chance of relatability went out the window. I know many Black women in my showing sucked their teeth and even went as far as to yell at the screen, "You better pop her!" when Charlotte's oldest daughter hand-painted Charlotte's "vintage Valentino." Perhaps women are supporting the film for an even more specific reason. "Samantha," says Monique Mathis, 36, a personal trainer in Newark, NJ. "I watched the TV episodes because of her, and I'll watch however many movies they decide to make if my girl Samantha is in them."  Samantha does put the "sex" in "Sex and the City." Her openness to talk and discuss sex freely and without hesitation has to be a plus for Black women who keep some of their most kinky secrets private. Discussing sex is more taboo in the Black community than it is for our Caucasian sistahs. It's 2010, for example, and many Black women still don't admit to giving oral sex, for the fear of being labeled or judged. "Sex and the City" allows many Black women to live vicariously through these characters and laugh at their exploits, and become free about many of our own compulsions for sex. I left the theater receiving the underlying message that "Women are strong! Here us roar! Support and love one another," but I was only quasi-impressed. I understood why women were hooked on the film (if you take away the trite jokes, the non-existent plot, and a fashion filled storyline), the movie brought women together on the topic of love and relationships, a topic that all women could relate to. Black women support "Sex and The City," even with it's lack of diversity, because since it premiered in 1998, the show presented a subject  that may be new to our White girlfriends, but is something Black women have dealt with for a long time: There just aren't enough good men out there. Black or white, all women can toast their Cosmos to that.
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