GIRLS TRIP & SAWUBONA - Micky ScottBey Jones

Depending on your demographic profile, Girls Trip may or may not be on your radar, even though at the time of its release, it was the current title-holder for largest opening of a live-action comedy in 2017. You may not have noticed it because like much of US culture, films are still largely segregated, from casting to marketing. A comedy with four Black female leads is easily dismissed as a “Black film” that would only be of interest to a subgroup of moviegoers. I am a Black woman, so it was no surprise I joined another Black girlfriend of mine for opening weekend. She was actually my companion on my #FabFlirtyFantastic40 Birthday Trip this year, so a funny movie that might at least slightly resemble the beach adventure we just enjoyed sounded like the perfect night out. I expected to laugh-scream (I do that) and exchange knowing looks and arm slaps throughout the movie, but I didn’t expect to do a deeper dive into my deepest longings for belonging, community, and self-love. 


“This is an important play, a theatrical masterpiece, as significant as Death of a Salesman or Oh What a Lovely War,” our tutor told us as he handed out a list of the play’s themes: right wing politics and corruption, the ozone layer; the experience of the gay man— closeted and out, the personal and societal impact of the AIDS epidemic; faith and sexuality. This was theater at its most contemporary and my secret shame was I just didn't get it!

Other students declared Angels in America was their favorite play of all time, while I silently fretted over why I couldn't see it's genius. Maybe it’s because I was a latent homophobe? After all the sex scenes made me blush. Or maybe it was because the character I identified with most was Joe Pitt, a closeted gay man struggling with his faith as his worldview changes, but after the mortifying "safe sex, no sex" comment I wasn't going to admit that to my fellow students and be singled out as "that religious girl" again.