You gotta love Black love, especially when it's shown in its full, hot, sticky, magical lusciousness on the big screen through Black sex scenes. When we see ourselves loving on one another in ways that are passionate and real, we get the feels, not just because it's great to fantasize about replicating in real life---but because it humanizes our experiences and showcases a side of us that's not always fighting, suffering, or traumatized.
The memories of classic Black sex scenes on film and TV live forever. Here are 15 Black sex scenes to take you back and reignite the love and passion in your life:
When Kevin and Chiron shared their first kiss, validating feelings they'd had for each other and taking unspoken bonds to the next level, it was passionate and endearing. Kevin then pleasured Chiron via a hand job, which is another act of endearment that further solidified a gift of freedom in sexual identity that they could not fully reveal in their everyday lives. That scene from the 2016 Academy Award-winning film reminded us all of our own first time with a deep crush or connection from our teen years.
You gotta love a story of instant attraction between two creatives, and Micheal and Mae don't disappoint in this film. The journalist and art curator (respectively) enjoy a steamy romp during a New York City rainstorm, reminding us all how deliciously fun having a storm bae can be. And the fact that their love has a backdrop of Mae's mother's affair with the father she never knew adds that much more allure. (A close second in the favorite love scene category for this film is the one with her mother and father in 1980s New Orleans enjoying their first time to Luther Vandross and Cheryl Lynn's "If This World Were Mine.")
You've got thug-loving at its finest in this scene, and DMX showed us that doggy style means more than just barking in a rap song. Though his character in the film, Tommy Buns, had a very toxic relationship with his live-in bae Kiesha, played by the beautiful Taral Hicks, this scene made us all---OK maybe just me---think back on that one street dude you had to let go but who could have you climbing the walls and answering his calls a little longer than you should have.
Tisha Campbell played Jane Toussaint, an HBCU student, and leader of the Gamma Rays, a social group that supported the fictional fraternity in the film, Gamma Phi Gamma. The frat's leader, Julian, was her bae (played by Giancarlo Esposito). There's a spicy scene in the film where the two take a break from stepping, party-planning, and being messy to get their freak on. Speaking of freaky, Jane goes as far as licking Julian's parted haircut, giving a whole new meaning to fetishes among undergrads. (When my girls and I saw this film for the first time as college freshmen, some were totally grossed out, others argued the feminist implications of a young woman doing such a thing, and the rest---including me---wondered whether there was indeed a fruit-flavored hair oil on the market for ... nevermind.
This film, set in the 1960s, gives Carmen Jones vibes with a bit of edge. When Sylvie meets saxophonist Robert, it's love at first sight on a Harlem street, and things get much more sensual and romantic. Their first time making love is on a rooftop, and then they meet up again, years later, at New York's iconic Plaza Hotel. What adds to the appeal of the sex scenes between the two is the legendary jazz and R&B soundtrack and the nostalgic style of lingerie Sylvie wears, providing inspo for all of us to role play and get into a few 60s-inspired pieces ourselves.
'She's Gotta Have It'
We are so here for artist Nola, who identifies as a polyamorous bisexual, and her relationships with men and women that include wonderfully entertaining escapades in her "loving bed." One major relationship was the one she had with Opal, a single mother and a horticulturalist. The two explore not only physical awareness and intimacy but a deep personal connection, leading Nola to rethink her life and consider settling down. Good sex will do that to ya!
When blue-collar Jason (played by Allen Payne) wanted to take Lyric (played by Jada Pinkett-Smith) out of the Houston hood and into a new life of love and infinite possibilities, we'd already fallen for him. When he commandeered a whole city bus to take her on a date, we swooned. But when we saw his chiseled back and hairy man-parts putting in work with Lyric in a field of lilac flowers, we all wet our panties and reconsidered giving that hard-working brotha at the Radio Shack a chance. (Go ahead, sis. Don't be ashamed. You know you did.)
This indie film is about a group of friends from Brown University who travel together for a weekend filled with drama, sex, and revelations. Especially sexy and sultry are the exchanges between Magnus and his boyfriend Ryan, including long, deep kissing sessions and lots of deep stroking.
This is, without a doubt, a classic favorite, and Darius Lovehall (played by the never-aging-a-day-in-his-life Larenz Tate) awakened the sapiosexual in all of us with his sensual wordplay and intellectual prowess during house-party debates. But when he and Nina Mosley (played by another actress who proves that Black indeed doesn't crack, Nia Long) finally hit the sheets, it was more than a sight for sore eyes. Add Maxwell's "Somethin' Somethin'" remix laying the vibes for lovemaking and you've got the peak to a love story that just made us all wish we had a writer boyfriend to be the "blues" in our "left thigh trying to become the funk" in our "right." Yas! That's all right!
Flexing muscles just always does something to me, and Ghost (played by Omari Hardwick) knew just how to do that while stroking the living daylights out of Tasha (Naturi Naughton). Half the time I didn't care that it was often angry make-up sex between the hubby-and-wife crime duo because, TBH, seeing a strong Black man with a coin---and clearly great gym form---getting it on was always fine by me. The determination on his face, the multiple positions, and the look of bliss at the end of almost every scene...whew chile! Just go ahead and rewind again. We won't be mad.
Issa Rae reminds us all that everyday women---even us awkward girls---can get our rocks off on the regular, and enjoy sex with some fine men to boot. From your usual comfy-couple sex on the couch with Lawrence (Jay Ellis), her soon-to-be ex, to crazy studio rendezvous with her rebound guy Daniel (Y'lan Noel), it's all about normalizing the dynamics of sex beyond love-story fairy tales and into the realm of IRL ish.
'Do the Right Thing'
Spike Lee sheds light on baby mama drama---and the love in between---as Mookie, who absolutely frustrates his boo Tina (Rosie Perez) throughout the whole film. Despite the arguments, the two end up having a playful sensual escapade. Mookie pulled out the ice trays---and got the side-eye from their son's caretaker, Tina's own mom---to give the both of them much-needed relief from the NYC heat. The dripping cubes-on-nipples action was something I probably shouldn't have been watching at the young age I was when I saw this movie for the first time, but as a grown woman, I can appreciate the combo of frozen treats and laughter to make relationship frustrations disappear.
Now, some of you might fight me on this one, but who didn't didn't want to "make the tacos" for somebody after watching that scene? (And this movie has another hot love scene contender in Ving Rhames (who played Melvin) when he blessed Jody's mom, Juanita (A.J. Johnson), with a little standing froggy-style action.) I know, I know: Baby daddy-baby mama drama at its finest. You can't deny, though, that this scene was one to re-watch and that it was refreshing to see a young couple work through their issues to find common ground and holy matrimony in the end.
Queen Latifah shines as one of the foremothers of blues, Bessie Smith, and in the film, she shares beautiful moments with her friend and lover, Lucille. The vulnerability and flirtatious exchanges between the two add an extra enchantment to watching this major part of the singer's life unfold through film.
Michael B. Jordan. Need I say more? OK, I'll go on. His character in the film, Adonis, falls in love with Bianca, a hearing-impaired singer-songwriter played by Tessa Thompson. In one scene, the two gain an understanding and connection via music and have a meeting of minds in how they'll both overcome inner demons to reach their life and career goals. Who doesn't love a man who can accept and love all of you? And again, Michael B. Jordan. 'Nuff said.
Featured Image Gif via Buzzfeed
Originally published on March 5, 2020
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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How To Have A Successful Hot Girl Summer
Summer is upon us, and you know what that means: It's time for a hot girl summer! The term exploded in popularity a few years back, and it’s all about encouraging women to flirt, have fun, and of course, enjoy some good ol' safe sex. But amidst all the fun, it's essential to have the right tools to protect yourself and your partner.
So, if you’re single and ready to mingle, here are a few helpful tips on how to have the best hot girl summer possible.
Start with self-care.
It's no secret that confidence is key when it comes to having a good time. Before you start swiping on dating apps or heading to the bar scene, take some time to indulge in self-care. Get a new haircut, buy a new outfit, and pamper yourself with a spa day. Having a fresh look and feeling good about yourself will boost your confidence and make you feel unstoppable.
Protect yourself and your partner.
Hot girl summer is all about having fun, but safety must come first. Before engaging in any sexual activity, make sure you and your partner use protection, whether it's a condom or other methods. Keep in mind STDs can still spread even with precautions, so it's important to get regular STD testing, especially if you're seeing multiple partners.
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Set boundaries and don't compromise.
It's common for women to feel pressured to do things they're not comfortable with during casual sex. In a hot girl summer, it's essential to set clear boundaries and not compromise on what makes you comfortable. If your partner doesn't respect your limits, then it's a sign they're not worth your time.
Be open-minded and explore.
If you want to spice up your summer, try exploring new sexual experiences and positions with your partner(s). For inspiration on what sex positions to try, check out articles on our site like this, this, and this. However, it's always important to make sure you're both on the same page and comfortable with what you're doing. Consent is key.
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Date like it's your job.
With summer in full swing, dating becomes easier, and more people are open to meeting new individuals. Take advantage of this opportunity and start swiping on dating apps, or if you're more traditional, head to the bars or local events. It's important to remember that dating isn't about finding someone to settle down with; it's about having fun experiences and meeting new people.
Be honest about what you want.
Be honest with yourself. If you want a serious relationship, seek it out, but if you want to go on a casual date, go on a casual date. Hot girl summers mean doing whatever it is you want to do and not settling. Just be sure to communicate and be honest about who you are and what you’re looking for.
It's all about having fun, enjoying yourself, and exploring your sexuality. But it's crucial to remember that safety comes first. Use protection, get regular STD testing, set boundaries, and don't compromise. Be open-minded and explore new sexual experiences, but never forget to prioritize your comfort level, and don't let anyone pressure you into doing things you're not comfortable with. With these tips and tricks, you'll surely have the best hot girl summer yet.
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