By Todd A. Smith
In my humble opinion, Bishop T.D. Jakes’ foray into filmmaking has produced some lackluster movies in the past. However, the new Jumping the Broom movie, his latest cinematic effort, is sure to be a hit that follows the same pattern that Tyler Perry uses to ride to consistent box office hits.
The Jumping the Broom movie could have easily used cliché storylines with a familiar happy ending, but it instead delves into the complex relationships that affluent African Americans have with less affluent African Americans and exposes some dark historical realities that many in the African American community would soon like to forget.
Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton) is horrible at picking men. She vows to stay celibate until she gets married and begs God to make it obvious who he wants her to spend the rest of her life with. On a busy metropolitan street, she literally hits Jason Taylor (Laz Alonso) with her car and sparks immediately fly.
When Sabrina is offered a new job as an intellectual property attorney in China after dating her dream guy for only six months, the relationship is at an obvious crossroad. What looks like a break up turns into a beautiful marriage proposal, with a surprise serenade by R&B singer El DeBarge.
Jason credits Sabrina with exposing him to the finer things in life, but that exposure to high society makes him ashamed of his less sophisticated family, and his mother Pam (Loretta Devine), uncle Willie Earl (Mike Epps) and his cousin Malcolm (DeRay Davis) only get to meet Jason’s future in-laws and fiancée the weekend of his wedding at ritzy Martha’s Vineyard.
Obviously, the Jumping the Broom movie is hilarious with such comedic professionals like Epps, Davis and Tasha Smith but it also deals with issues the some may consider “airing dirty laundry” a la Spike Lee in School Daze.
Anyone close to the African American community will be familiar with the class warfare that goes on in the Jumping the Broom movie. Pam is a widow that worked tirelessly everyday as a postal worker to provide a better future for her son Jason. Jason’s future mother-in-law Claudine (Angela Bassett) comes from old money and wants a great future for her daughter as well.
However, because of socioeconomic differences many in the African American community fail to see the similarities between themselves in their counterparts from a different tax bracket.
What those from affluent backgrounds sometimes neglect is that they alone are not the reason for their success. Furthermore, what their less affluent counterparts often neglect is that even though one has money, it does not mean they are immune to hardship and adversity.
Although the Watson family is wealthy it does not mean they do not face financial difficulties, in addition to controversial family secrets like the fact that some African Americans actually owned slaves in the 1800s and that teenage pregnancy was once so taboo in our community that relatives often raised others’ children as their own.
What makes the Jumping the Broom movie necessary and successful is that it shows the humanity and shared experiences of all African Americans and that if we all look at our similarities, our differences would seem insignificant and our future together could be beautiful.
The Jumping the Broom movie is rated PG-13.
Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.
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