Waiting to Exhale Sequel

I recently learned that a “Waiting to Exhale” sequel might be in the works.  The original film, based on the best-selling novel, chronicles the friendship of four Black women living in Phoenix, Arizona.  The movie was enthusiastically received when it was released in the mid 1990s.

I was among the throngs of women who watched Gloria, Bernie, Savannah and Robin spend time hanging out at a club and discussing the men in their lives. I enjoyed the laughter the women shared and their trappings of success, and I hope that the sequel will include those things as well.  I also hope it includes a man taking one of these women on a date.

There are four Black women and not one scene where a man takes any of them on a real outing. Robin beds three different men, yet the closest she gets to going on a date is when her new lover takes her to a house party and immediately deserts her to go do drugs.  Neither of the two men Savannah sleeps with take her anywhere.  In many movies, when Black males date white females, Black males take them on dates.

All of these Black women are portrayed as sex starved.  None are cherished on screen, except in one brief instance, and none are tenderly touched unless it’s a prelude to sex or some sexual context.

A Black man named Marvin moves into Gloria’s neighborhood and the movie implies they have a romantic relationship, but the film doesn’t show it on screen. Beyond their initial introduction they’re in three scenes together.  Marvin’s washing dishes in one scene and his back is to Gloria most of the time so he doesn’t touch her.  The only time Marvin affectionately touches this Black woman is shortly before he seduces her.

Considerable time is devoted to these women having sex, especially with married men, and time’s alloted to Black men and Black women being at odds.  In one scene, Robin’s new man curses her out, calls her a “bitch” and hurls a piece of fruit at her.  A negative Black male-Black female interaction scene runs about 3 1/2 minutes long.  In contrast, Gloria and Marvin share one lighted-hearted moment as sort-of-a-couple and it runs about 30 seconds.  The one healthy Black male-Black female relationship is given so little time

The only woman that viewers consistently hear a Black man speak about in the most loving terms is a white woman. She’s the wife of a Black attorney who’s away on a business trip.  He talks about her at length in three different scenes.  Although this relationship is true to the novel written by a Black woman, I don’t know if the author/screenwriter is the one who gave short shrift to positive Black male-Black females interactions in the script or if it was the director or someone else.

I’d like to see these women again but I hope a man cherishes at least one of them, and I hope that a white woman doesn’t receive the lion’s share of a Black man’s affection in the sequel.

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