There’s a whole new universe of Black love that you’ve never seen before in Entergalactic, the musical television special that premieres on Netflix today. An animated vision coming out of the minds of Kid Cudi and black-ish creator Kenya Barris, it’s a romantic comedy-drama that, in many ways, feels more real in the way that it captures the Black love experience — in all its joy and pain, sexuality and sensitivity, intimateness and insecurities — than many live action films have done.
Continuing the interstellar themes that Cudi has explored since taking us on a fantastic voyage with his groundbreaking debut album, 2009’s Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Entergalactic arrives in tandem with his 10th album of the same name. In addition to providing the hypnotic soundtrack for this love story, Cudi gets to play the leading man, voicing the character of Jabari (for which he is credited by his real name, Scott Mescudi, as on previous film and TV projects).
We meet him as he’s moving into a spacious Manhattan duplex apartment that surely would cost him crazy coins — but if you can suspend your disbelief on that, it’s cool to see a brother having his own Sex and the City moment. He’s a biker boy riding around the city while rocking a red hoodie that says “Closure,” but he’s not the messenger that one taxi driver mistakes him for — he’s just started his dream job at Cosmic Comics. They want him to turn Mr. Rager — a dark, mysterious character that he spray-paints in graffiti around the city — into a comic book. (And longtime Cudi fans know that this character goes back to 2010’s Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager.) And no doubt, Entergalactic looks like the coolest of comic books come to life, with its vibrant colors popping off the screen.
But it doesn’t take long for Jabari’s love life to interfere with his new bachelor-pad goals. His ex Carmen (voiced by Laura Harrier) is suddenly feeling him all over again when she finds out about his new job and apartment. And even though she’s ready to lock him down for family gatherings after they go on a date, for Jabari, it was just one night of fun in between the sheets. The mixed signals, off timing, and exes you just can’t shake are all refreshingly true to the bumps that exist along the road to finding true love.
Still, it does seem as if the fairy tale truly exists when Jabari meets Meadow (voiced by Jessica Williams), his photographer neighbor. Their meet-cute moment in her apartment is pretty much stoned-in-love at first sight. Meadow takes charge and asks Jabari out to lunch at her “secret spot” where they have vegan burgers. They get caught in the rain together, and he even gives her his precious “Closure” hoodie. Who says that chivalry is dead? In a romantic montage, they go from bicycling and photo-boothing to headboard-banging. And seeing them boo up while also lifting each other up in their respective careers makes you feel the power of Black love.
But of course, the fairy tale doesn’t exist — and Jabari and Meadow have to deal with their own issues, baggage and entanglements. In the end, Entergalactic has a beautiful message about loving with purpose and putting yourself — and your heart — on the line, even when it’s not easy. The film ends with a salute to its costumer designer, the late Louis Vuitton artistic director Virgil Abloh. At that moment, you feel a different kind of Black love.
Check out the conversation below between Kid Cudi and his collaborators as they discuss the message of the film and what it took to bring it to life.