As a Black author married to a white Swede and who writes about the cultural differences and hiccups that can pop up, I’m always interested in books and movies that portray interracial relationships. I’ve lived in Sweden since 1995 – when Stockholm was having a *huge* problem with Nazi skinheads everywhere and many parents wanted to brush it aside as “a phase” their teenage sons were going through. Flash forward to 2023: those asshole teenage sons are now members of SD (Sverigedemokraterna) – a political party with it roots in the Neo-Nazi movement, even though their party leader would love to have us all forget that.
Unfortunately, too many Swedes seem to have forgotten it since so many of them voted for these racist misogynists… but I digress. That’s a story for another day.
When I first heard about You People, I knew I had to keep it on my radar.
I still remember when I told my own parents about the Swedish guy I was bringing home. I’d had white boyfriends before (and my parents had met them), but the Swede was the first one who was really serious.
So, anyway, on Friday afternoon, I watched You People and I could totally relate to Amira and Ezra‘s path to love. It didn’t matter that neither of my parents were members of the Nation of Islam, as Akbar (Eddie Murphy) and Fatima (Nia Long) were or devoutly Jewish as Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Arnold (David Duchovny) were. I could still empathise with Amira and Ezra wanting to have a relationship without the baggage brought on by their parents’ beliefs. They connect, they love each other, they think this will be enough.
But this is 2023 in America and we know, unfortunately, that love isn’t always enough. We have to factor in society, systemic racism, white privilege, unconscious bias, prejudice…you name it. All the things that can destroy love. Especially when you have an interracial couple jut trying to love each other…but their parents are being complete assholes without realising it (or maybe they do realise it and just don’t care?).
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that Something New (starring Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker) is one of my favourite movies. However, one of my main complaints about Something New – no matter how much I love it – is that we never see Brian (Simon Baker)’s friends or his parents. We never find out how they react to his relationship with Kenya (Sanaa Lathan). We only see her family’s reaction. One of the things that I really enjoyed about You People is that we see *both* families’ reactions.
And it’s not pretty on either side.
Both sets of parents have their own biases that end up affecting the couple – no matter how hard Amira and Ezra try to stay focused on their love.
Does love win out in the end? Well, you’ll have to watch You People to find out, but I can say that I really enjoyed it.
Have you seen it yet? Drop me a line and let me know!