When you meet Leilani and Jibran in Netflix’s new rom-com The Lovebirds, they’re just like any other couple on the brink of a break up, bickering about gawd knows what—trivia, being smartphone obsessed and if they can win at the competition game show, The Amazing Race.
But what sets up the hilarious film in which Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani not only star, but executive produce is that the two get kinda sorta framed for murder and spend the next hour or so trying to find whodunnit so they can convince the cops that they didn’t actually do it. Because what cop would readily believe a Black woman and her Asian boyfriend? In New Orleans, no less.
The adventure they embark on to clear their names almost makes you forget that you’re Netflix and chilling with a multiracial couple—a rare occurrence in Hollywood no matter how much we try to normalize it because it should be normal.
“That’s what the world looks like, you know?” Nanjiani asked ESSENCE rhetorically last week.
“Diversity in pop culture is important because people need to see themselves onscreen,” he continued. “For a long time the world looked a certain way and what we were watching on TV didn’t look like that.”
His co-star Rae, who’s no stranger to holding space for multiracial relationships in her own projects (See: Inscecure’s Molly and Andrew), added that it’s important to note two people of color are starring in The Lovebirds because “it exists.”
“It’s real life and…it’s just exciting to see new faces. For a while, we’re accustomed to seeing a very specific norm, and that gets boring after awhile,” she continued with a message for Hollywood. “Freshen it up, guys!’
Although the film was originally set to premiere in movie theaters, Rae has some advice for those movie lovers dying to get away from their kids right now (no judgement!) and tune everyone out with a good laugh.
“Grab a boo,” she suggested before quickly adding, “if you’re already quarantined with that particular, boo. I wouldn’t recommend outsourcing one.”
The Lovebirds begins streaming on Netflix Friday.