Black History Month is still going strong and what better way to show love for the culture than promoting black love.
On February 25, Tinder launched a new project called #BlackLoveIs, an original short film from the highly respected and successful music video and film director, Director X. The film celebrating black love in all its forms showcases a variety of black individuals and couples as they recount their interpretation of black love, intimate experiences and provide deeper insight as to how we can love ourselves and how we can show love.
The authentic film debuted at one of Hollywood’s most chic and celebrated venues, NeueHouse Hollywood. Prior to the festivities, The Knockturnal sat down for an exclusive interview with Director X (Julien Christian Lutz), protégé of the legendary director Hype Williams and is known for directing music videos for some of the world’s biggest stars including Drake, Rihanna, Kanye West, and Jay-Z amongst others. His work has also received high praise and accolades including nominations and awards at the MTV Music Video Awards and Much Music Video Awards as well as Best Feature at the Atlantic Film Festival for the film Across the Line.
The Knockturnal: What does Black Love mean to you personally?
Director X: For me, it would be, Black Love, is learning to love because we are a little different, we have to learn to love ourselves, we have to learn to love our culture, we have to learn to love our people, we have to learn to love our history. There’s a whole phase where you have to unlearn what you’re taught, learn what really happened. It’s not so simple…learn to love your hair, like there’s all these things that we had to actually learn because the world is actively telling us we’re lesser.
The Knockturnal: There is this issue where black women want a successful black man, but these successful black men want nothing to do with black women. They get to a certain point or status and ditch the black woman they started with for usually a white woman. What can you say in regard to that?
Director X: I don’t know. We have a culture that still…its very odd what’s happening. You have this glorification; they want pieces of a black woman. When I grew up it was blonde, white woman, that was the big standard and it’s always funny to me. We have an entire culture, the whole Western world is built around keeping black men away from blonde, white women, like everything about it. And then to see them when they interact is hilarious. You get a dark skin brother with dreadlocks around a white lady, it’s almost comedy, it’s strange what the culture has done. And then the flipside where the black man doesn’t necessarily say the white woman is a prize but…but the white woman won’t say it, not out in public. Now there are podcasts where they say crazy shit. But I don’t know man if it’s history…I gotta sit back, I’m in analyze mode when it comes to that dynamic still.
The Knockturnal: Can you be proud to be black, support black love and be in an interracial relationship?
Director X: I don’t know, there’s so many different phases of it. There’s definitely the, hey you love who you love, we met, we connected and we’re in love thing but there’s also the, I have issues with myself and I’m searching out some kind of correction. You see these partners do that on a bunch of different levels; I’m trying to balance my deficit through my partner’s overabundance of something and race is definitely a thing. You see that in a lot of cultures. All colored people have some form of this. Ours is a little different because of the dynamics of how we got to the West but Indians, Filipinos, Asians, there’s a whole bunch of cultural things but the difference is, white folks, don’t fetishize their sexuality when it comes to love and sex. They might have a fetish about Asian culture or Indian this, there’s a thing they like about those cultures but when it comes to black folks, there’s a thing they got about what it is, they have sex fantasies that gets all tied up in relationships and love. It’s not super simple so can you be pro-black and be in love with someone else, sure, but let’s not pretend that…some people have really internalized that society has told them that they’re less and in that they ran away from not only their culture but away from themselves. There’s balance.
Once the event commenced, a discussion was led by Raquel “Rocky” Harris where Director X expressed his findings from the mini-film through taking in the responses from the cast, “Each person has their own unique experience in how being Black converges with their understanding of love itself. It was beautiful to see how varied and nuanced the Black community really is – how our expressions of love are tinted through our culture.” Following the discussion was an intimate cocktail reception with sounds provided by notable DJ Brian Henry as well as an exciting opportunity for guests to have their photo taken for their Tinder profile by celebrity photographer Erik Carter. Attendees mingled with the cast, posed for photo booth pictures and danced the night away…for the culture. For more information on the personal story of Director X celebrating #BlackLoveIs click here. Be sure to check out #BlackIsLove below.