I had the pleasure of attending a pre screening for Girls Trip at The Whitby Hotel last week. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to see Black women on the big screen, cutting loose without concern for the White and/or male gaze. After seeing so many female iterations of The Hangover and shows like Broad City that feature White women in “unconventional ways,” it felt like Black women couldn’t do the same.
People of color, particularly Black people, and particularly Black women carry around a burden of perfection in public. Many of us feel an obligation to put our best foot forward in the public eye (fiction or non) because of the fear of perpetuating stereotypes. On the rare occasion we are allowed to be centered, we feel we have to be prim, proper, and poised to combat stereotypes that we are loud, angry, uncouth, unattractive, etc. Girls Trip was a huge “Screw You,” to that, and served as a real comedy centering four Black women, that wasn’t preachy or principled. It was just a damn good time. The best part was seeing the movie in a theater full of Black people who got every joke, every reference, and animated laughs were not only welcomed, but well earned.
Here are ten of my favorite things about Girls trip.
1) Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall)’s wardrobe. Slay after slay after slay. I’m still not over the dress she gave Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) to wear their first night out.
2) The nostalgia of seeing Sasha (Queen Latifah) and Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) in wigs and shades as a nod to their first movie together as Stony and Cleo in Set It Off.
3) When Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) read her agent Elizabeth Davelli (Kate Walsh) for using Black colloquialisms, and reminded her that she would be attending Essence Fest as a guest, and to act accordingly. I loved seeing a White woman in devoted service to a Black woman. And can we also take a moment to acknowledge her wardrobe? That fuchsia suit was to die for!
4) Everything that is Tiffany Haddish. She is a national treasure, and should be protected at all costs. Her character Dina made the movie all the more entertaining.
5) Every time Malik (Kofi Siriboe) came across the screen. I mean every single time, namely the grapefruit scene.
6) Larenz Tate’s reluctance to age.
7) The cast’s looks during their press tour were to die for as well.
8) The acknowledgment of Essence Fest as a staple event in Black culture, and the bonus of seeing the performances throughout the movie.
9) The surprise cameo by Mike Epps. I adore him.
10) All of the references to Black college life in the 90’s. I loved my college experience, but I will always feel a way about not getting to experience Freaknik as a college student back then.