When Netflix announced The Kissing Booth was getting a sequel, I have to admit that I was stunned. I’m a sucker for romcoms, and I totally dig cheesy movies and tv shows, but I know not everyone does. (And this one is particularly cheesy.) So the fact that it was getting a sequel when it clearly didn’t need one, should have been enough to put me on alert. But it wasn’t. I was happy one of my favorite Netflix movies was getting another go.
But now that I’ve finally had a moment to sit down and actually watch it, I’m a little concerned, and I have a few questions. (I also kind of want another Kissing Booth 2 movie, but this time with an all-Black cast.)
However, if you’re unfamiliar with The Kissing Booth, it’s your typical American teen rom-com. There’s a high school girl (Elle Evans) who has a crush on a guy that’s a bit older than her, and totally “out of her league” (aka Noah Flynn). He’s the hot bad-boy that every girl wants, and she’s a regular kid, with a dorky best friend who just so happens to be her crushes little brother (Lee Flynn).
Long story short, Elle signs up to run a kissing booth for the Spring carnival and boom, she’s face-to-face with the guy of her dreams! They end up kissing, confess they have feelings for each other, and now they’re together.
Both Elle and Noah spend the “most romantic Summer of her life” spending all their free time together, as Noah gets ready to head out to Boston for college. Harvard to be exact.
Which is where movie 1 ends and movie 2 begins.
In The Kissing Booth 2, Elle heads back to high school for senior year, while Noah tries to enjoy his first year at Harvard without his new love. He makes new friends, and apparently so does she, as she ends up friends with yet another school hottie named Marco.
There’s a ton more “drama” but I’ll save you the full recap, in case you’re interested in giving it a watch.
Now like I mentioned in the beginning I absolutely love cheesy romcoms.
But as I got to the end of The Kissing Booth 2 I couldn’t help but think about all the privilege Elle seems to have.
Two boys who absolutely love her to death.
Sorry correction, three!
There’s her best friend who would break up with his own girlfriend, the girl he apparently loves, just to make her happy.
There’s the high school hottie that everyone in school loves, who thinks she’s worth everything and then some!
And there’s her college boyfriend who doesn’t even care that he has a supermodel beside him because he only has eyes for her.
There are also no overbearing parents, no pressure to be perfect, and the kids don’t bully her when she gushes over another dude on the loudspeaker for the entire school to hear despite already having a boyfriend.
There aren’t any curfews that she has to adhere too. She can go wherever she wants, do whatever she wants, sleep with whoever she wants, you name it.
She’s a free teenage girl. And … if you’re Black, and you grew up like me, none of this sounds like a normal life.
Honestly, I kept forgetting these kids were … well, kids. I totally forgot they were in high school. Because High School didn’t look like this for me. As a Black teen who went to public school in NYC… there weren’t car rides to school. Curfew was at 3 pm.
Just enough time to leave school after my last class and walk home afterward. Maybe with friends if they wanted to walk straight home. But not if they wanted to stop and get pizza or Chinese food on the way.
And I get that my mood has been a little off today, well actually this entire week, but it’s so hard to be inspired after watching The Kissing Booth 2. I mean it’s a cute story but I can’t relate. Yet, that’s not the worse part!
I probably can’t relate to a lot of the things I watch on tv. My life isn’t so great right now, so honestly watching anything that I can relate to (like for instance Gentefied) would honestly just make me feel even worse. And I try to watch things that I know will improve my mood not paint an everlasting “BRF” look on my face.
But you know what’s worse than not being able to relate? I can’t think of a Black teenage love story that’s this darn perfect!
I’m not saying there aren’t any out there, I’m saying that right now I can’t think of one.
Where the kids didn’t get into fights at school or detention was given but not even shown on screen? Where the Black girl was popular and didn’t have a stank attitude that made you hate her, even if you wanted to love her for being Black and popular.
I can instantly think of white kids living carefree lives, aka Gossip Girl, and doing whatever they want, but when it comes to Black kids, there’s a whole lot of drama or trauma.
Like the most recent film, I’ve watched about black teens – Selah and the Spades.
While I absolutely love that movie, and I love everything it stands for, those kids weren’t necessarily happy. (Granted, it also wasn’t a rom-com or love story of any kind, but it’s the most recent Black film I’ve seen about Black teens and well … it’s dark.)
Hell, the only actual problems Elle had in The Kissing Booth 2 was “did her college boyfriend cheat on her” and “should she go to school with her boyfriend or her best friend”. Both are major problems when you’re 17, but neither of them are life or death situations, ya know?
So now I’m sitting here wondering … where are our happy go lucky teenage love stories?
Where are the Black stories that are perfect in all ways, except the minor hiccup in the road that’s only placed in the storyline to “make things more interesting”?
Do we ever get those stories? Can we even imagine those stories? Can we see ourselves in a perfect fairytale where our hardest decision is best friend or boyfriend? University of Berkeley or Harvard?
Or have we already been so traumatized by life’s mishaps that we can’t even imagine such a perfect life for ourselves?
Quite frankly, I’d love to see a movie like The Kissing Booth 2 written with an all-Black cast.
I’d love to see a movie about Black teens who are just happy! No bullying, no stank attitudes, no detentions, no strick ass parents with wack ass curfews, no dads threatening dates, no moms using their daughters as babysitters … and the list can go on and on.
So basically … a cheesy rom-com like the Kissing Booth 2, but all Black everything! Is that too hard? Can we do that please? Thanks!
Cause the trauma in our stories is played out! We have enough traumatizing stories. Gimme some damn fairytales! Give me a Black family that’s so damn happy we begin to start wondering if we’re dreaming or some shit!
That’s what I need moving forward!
Someone make that happen!