In Celebration of Successful Black Men: The Brothers, a Forgotten Gem.
In 2001 talented writer\director Gary Hardwick, writer on sitcoms like In The House and films like Bring it On in 2000 and Deliver Us From Eva in 2003 wrote and directed a classic film that for some reason we don’t remember or talk about and we SHOULD. Because it is truly a great, entertaining movie and also celebrated the successful black man in an era that often didn’t.
It was the male answer to Waiting to Exhale, giving black men a platform to speak on their thoughts on relationships, sex, love, friendship, family, commitment, brotherhood and manhood. Black women got to see what goes on in the minds of their men and black men got to see themselves represented as whole human beings. The good, the bad, the ugly and the complicated.
Morris Chestnut, DL Hughley, Bill Bellamy, Shemar Moore, Jenifer Lewis, Gabrielle Union, Tamala Jones, Tatyana Ali, Clifton Powell, Julie Benz, Susan Dalian, Aloma Wright and Marla Gibbs. The caliber of the ensemble cast was truly something special. All of these actors whether they were up and coming or old school legends at the time, they all came together to make a classic film and they all played their roles believably and naturally to the point that you completely buy into the world you’re watching and the relationships that inhabited that world. The casting of the four male leads was the most crucial, of course Gary Hardwick sought to get four of the best black male actors he could find and found them. Little tidbit: Originally Morris Chestnut wanted to play the Brian role that went to Bill Bellamy, but Hardwick just knew that he needed Morris to be the lead role Jackson to anchor the whole film and boy was he right. The casting of the sisters were equally crucial as Hardwick managed to score some very talented and sexy ladies to give the film the feminine touch it needed to balance out all the testosterone as well as give brothers a look into the female mind. Tit for tat, as they say. Every single actor in the film was amazing in their roles and brought something special to the movie that would’ve been missing otherwise.
The film was very well balanced in providing both hilarious comedy scenes and more thoughtful and insightful scenes:
Just like before The Brothers, we still don’t see enough multi dimensional and human roles for Black men in film and television, but I will say that since The Brothers, shows like NBC’s current sitcom Grand Crew and movies like Coach Carter, Black Panther etc. We’re seeing a bit more positive yet also realistic, distinctive and layered characterizations of Black men that this underrated classic film help pave the way for. It may be somewhat forgotten but its timeless humor, heart, value and legacy won’t ever be.
And now to end this with a toast: To the brothers.