Valentine’s Day is approaching, so it is almost time to cuddle up with romance movies. However, if you want diversity in your watchlist this year, why not dive into Black romance cinema? These movies offer a unique essence of love and relationships toward the Black experience. From classics in Black cinema to modern love stories, these movies are perfect for a romantic date night or a cozy night in for yourself. Here are 13 Black romance movies that will bring you joy and passion this Valentine’s Day. 

Coming to America (1988) 

Prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy) and Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley) smiling on their wedding day.

Coming to America remains a classic in the romance comedy genre today.  The film stars famous comedian Eddie Murphy as Prince Akeem Joffer, who travels from Africa to New York City to find a woman who will love him for who he is, not his social status. He meets Lisa McDowell, the oldest daughter of Cleo McDowell, who owns a fast-food restaurant called McDowell’s; however, he makes multiple attempts to win her heart. The film will make you laugh every time with its hilarious scenes and quotes.   

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Poetic Justice (1993) 

Justice (Janet Jackson) and Lucky (Tupac Shakur) hanging out at a cookout.

Poetic Justice uses the love language of poetry to define romance. Janet Jackson stars as Justice, a poet who goes on a road trip from Los Angeles to Oakland and meets a postal worker, Lawrence, also known as “Lucky,” played by Tupac Shakur. The film is known in Black cinema for the passionate chemistry between Janet and Tupac in their enemies-to-lovers storyline. 

Waiting to Exhale (1995)  

Gloria (Loretta Devine), Robin (Lela Rochon) , Bernadine (Angela Bassett) and Savannah (Whitney Houston) hanging out and sharing laughs.

Waiting to Exhale is the perfect movie to watch if you want romance with a side of female friendship. The film stars Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon and Loretta Devine as friends who are “holding their breath” until they are satisfied with their committed relationship. The film is known for its memorable soundtrack, which features Black female singers such as Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Brandy, TLC and more. 

Love Jones (1997)

Nina (Nia Long) and Darius (Larenz Tate) enjoying a date night together.

Love Jones explores a couple finding an unexpected attraction to each other. The film stars Nia Long and Larenz Tate as a photographer and poet who find an unexpected connection with each other in Chicago but face many challenges to work out their relationship. Despite being a box office bomb, it remains a classic in the Black romance cinema. 

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How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) 

Stella (Angela Bassett) and Winston (Taye Diggs) share a romantic moment in Jamaica.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back proves that older women can find love, too. The film centers on Angela Bassett as Stella, who hopes to find her groove during a tropical vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where she meets a handsome young islander, Winston Shakespeare, played by Taye Diggs. The film explores the complexity of their age-gap relationship. 

The Best Man (1999) 

Jordan Armstrong (Nia Long) sits on Harper Stewart's (Taye Diggs) lap in the film The Best Man. Both smile as they lean in to kiss.

The Best Man offers romance with a mix of melodrama over a wedding weekend. Taye Diggs stars as Harper Stewart, an aspiring author who wrote a novel that details the lives of his best friends; however, the secrets inside come into light before his best friend’s wedding, where he is a best man. The movie spawned a Christmas-themed sequel called The Best Man Holiday and a miniseries titled The Best Man: The Final Chapters

Love and Basketball (2000) 

Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) cuddling on the grass

Love and Basketball showcases a romance between two childhood friends who share a love for basketball. Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps star as Monica and Quincy as they explore the complexity of their relationship while also pursuing their basketball careers. Love and Basketball is the perfect watch if you are looking for a romance that also deals with youth and sports. 

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Brown Sugar (2002) 

Sidney (Sanaa Lathan) and Dre (Taye Diggs) sharing a tender moment on a park bench.

Brown Sugar highlights the tender moments between two childhood friends who share a love for hip-hop. Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs played Sidney and Dre, who face their growing attraction to each other as adults. However, they must face challenges that bring struggles in their relationship. The film is worth it to see how the friends-to-lovers relationship between Sanaa and Taye plays out.  

Just Wright (2010) 

Leslie (Queen Latifah) and Scott (Common) sharing laughs in the rain.

Just Wright is another romance movie that focuses on basketball; this time, it is a romantic comedy. Queen Latifah plays Leslie Wright, who becomes a physical therapist to basketball player Scott McKnight, played by Common. The unexpected romance between them will have you laughing and smiling the way through. 

Beyond the Lights (2014) 

Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Kaz (Nate Parker) sharing a tender moment.

Beyond the Lights is a complex film that shows an “opposites attract” romance between a struggling music artist and a police officer. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a famous musician named Noni Jean who finds herself in an unexpected romance with a young police officer. Beyond the Lights deals with romance and showcases the pressures of fame.   

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If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) 

Clementine (Kiki Layne) and Alonzo (Stephan James) sharing a tender moment on the subway.

If Beale Street Could Talk is an emotional film based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of the same name. Kiki Layne stars as Clementine Rivers, who fights to clear the name of her lover, Alonzo Hunt (Stephan James), after he was wrongly accused of a crime. The film was critically acclaimed for its thought-provoking messages and soundtrack.  

Sylvie’s Love (2020) 

Sylvie (Tessa Thompson) and Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha) sharing a dance on a street.

Sylvie’s Love is a beautiful romance period drama that will transport you into 1960s Harlem. Tessa Thompson stars as Sylvie, who falls in love with Robert, played by Nnamdi Asomugha. He works at Sylvie’s father’s record store in Harlem. The film will immerse you in their love story, spanning many challenges and setbacks.  

The Photograph (2020)  

Micheal (Lakeith Stanfield) looking at Mae (Issa Rae) admiring.

The Photograph will make you feel like you are watching a ’90s Black romance film. Issa Rae stars as Mae, who finds romance with a journalist, Micheal, played by LaKeith Stanfield, who is investigating the history of Mae’s mother. The movie switches from the past and present as you immerse yourself into two love stories.  

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All of these Black romance movies are perfect for a romantic movie night on Valentine’s Day. What is your favorite Black romance movie? Let us know in the comments! 

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