DC film critic Tim Gordon salutes 28 Days of Black Love on the silver screen

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Tim Gordon (Part 1)

Valentine’s Day may be over, but Black History Month continues all month long!

Tim Gordon, president of the Washington Area Film Critics Association and C.E.O. of the Black Reel Awards, is saluting 28 Days of Black Love on the Silver Screen.

“Every day, I present a movie to folks,” Gordon told WTOP. “Some are more well known, some are more obscure. It’s educational. It’s entertainment. It’s a lot of fun.”

Here are a few of his favorite picks:

“Carmen Jones” (1954)

“It’s based on the opera and 1943 stage play of ‘Carmen,'” Gordon said. “An all-Black cast led by Dorothy Dandridge, who would become the first African-American woman nominated for Best Actress, Harry Belafonte … Diahann Carroll made her film debut in this. … An amazing story and a transcendent performance by Dandridge.”

“For the Love of Ivy” (1968)

“Sidney Poitier did that ’67 trio of films, ‘To Sir With Love,’ ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ and ‘In the Heat of the Night,” and was the No. 1 box office draw in Hollywood,” Gordon said. “[Here] Poitier is this businessman who dates this maid. You have this very interesting dynamic in juxtaposition that grows into a love relationship.”

“Claudine” (1974)

“The role was initially for the late Diana Sands, who was dying of cancer, so she wanted Diahann Carroll to do the role,” Gordon said. “This story of a woman who has six kids and is a domestic who falls in love with [James Earl Jones] who is a garbage man who takes on the responsibility. … To watch them falling in love is great.”

“Love Jones” (1997)

“‘If you walk down the street and grab any person of color and ask what their favorite romantic film is they will tell you unequivocally ‘Love Jones’ and the chemistry between [Lorenz] Tate and [Nia] Long,” Gordon said. “This film is funny, it’s witty, shot in Chicago by Theodore Witcher, who for unknown reasons never made another film.”

“Love & Basketball” (2000)

“The perfect marriage of romance and sports about two people who grow up together, live next door and play basketball,” Gordon said. “[Monica] falls in love with this guy, the Omar Epps character [Quincy]. … There’s a great scene toward the end where she says, ‘Quincy, I’ll play you.’ ‘Play me for what?’ She says, ‘I’ll play you for your heart.'”

“Sylvie’s Love” (2020)

“[Tessa Thompson] and former football player Nnamdi Asomugha light up the screen in this story of a young woman who [works] in her father’s record shop. She meets Robert, a jazz musician who takes this summer job. … It’s not about class, it’s not about race, it’s literally two people who meet over the summer and fall in love.”

Will “Sylvie’s Love” make the nominees for the Black Reel Awards this Thursday?

“I think that’s a pretty safe bet,” Gordon said.

Check out his full list below (in no particular order):

28 Days of Black Love on the Silver Screen

  • “Sylvie’s Love” (2020)
  • “Love Jones” (1997)
  • “A Warm December” (1973)
  • “Mahogany” (1975)
  • “The Photograph” (2020)
  • “Beyond the Lights” (2014)
  • “If Beale Street Could Talk” (2018)
  • “Love & Basketball” (2000)
  • “Brown Sugar” (2002)
  • “Poetic Justice” (1993)
  • “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” (1998)
  • “Medicine for Melancholy” (2008)
  • “Think Like A Man” (2012)
  • “Jason’s Lyric” (1994)
  • “Hitch” (2005)
  • “Southside with You” (2016)
  • “Claudine” (1974)
  • “Boomerang” (1992)
  • “The Best Man” (1999)
  • “Waiting to Exhale” (1995)
  • “About Last Night” (2014)
  • “Hav Plenty” (1998)
  • “Mississippi Masala” (1991)
  • “Carmen Jones” (1954)
  • “Paris Blues” (1961)
  • “Cane River” (1982)
  • “For the Love of Ivy” (1968)
  • “Best Man Holiday (2013)
WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with Tim Gordon (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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