Classics: Waiting to Exhale

I’m sure every black woman in the world has seen Waiting to Exhale and we all remember two classics scenes.

This one…

The fashion of Waiting to Exhale (1995) | Lipstick Alley

And this one…

I admit. The last one is my favorite. That whole scene is hilarious to me and an honest view, in some cases, of how Black men view Black women. Also, sir, why are you wearing leather in the middle of summer? I get it’s a vest but, sir, it’s HOT! Anyway, there are a lot of things I started to realize when I thought to write this post. Taking a nosedive in 3, 2, 1….

So have you ever looked at these women as parallels to each other, with some variations? Hear me out. Savannah is a single, unmarried working woman who is very career focused. She is waiting for her love to leave his wife because that’s a thing. Robin is a single, unmarried women who is career focused and sleeping with a married man. Robin is sleeping with a married man, but she seems more open to finding her forever love than Savannah does, in my opinion.

Bernadette is a stay at home mom who gave up her career to support her husband, who ruined the beginning of the movie for all of us when he told us and Bernadette that he was leaving us for a white woman. After 11 WHOLE YEARS? AND ON NEW YEAR’S? The nerve! Gloria is a single mother who believes that her ex-husband left because she gained weight. He left because he, at the time, believed he was bisexual and now realizes he is gay.

If you think about it, these women were often paired together in the film. There was the scene where Savannah and Robin were on the phone, and later, we see Bernadette and Gloria at the fair. Clearly, I was supposed to draw a connection between these women and their lives but never noticed it until now. Shame on me.

I loved the camaraderie between these women and it was exactly what I wanted my friend group to look like. A friend like Robin who would be LIVID with your ex-husband for leaving you for another woman AND alone with two kids AFTER ALL the sacrifice you made for HIM AND HIS CAREER. A friend like Gloria who could give you a therapy session while making you beautiful. A friend like Savannah who there to be the softer side of Robin. She likes to talk through things and give you the bright side to your situation. A friend like Bernadette who, in finding out who she was without her husband, became the rebel, throwing caution to the wind. Showing her friends that you can have a transformation, a second wind if you will, later in life. A friend who can show you that, in the end, it’s ok to be by yourself and it’s fun to be by yourself for awhile. I got a bunch of weirdos, they know who they are and I love them!

The legendary Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds crafted the classic soundtrack. Months ago, Edmonds hosted an IG live, sans Teddy Riley and the technical issues (I’m sorry. The joke was there and I had to.), to discuss just how he was able to create the soundtrack to the life of a black women to go with the movie made for black women based on a book by a black woman. I cannot wait because I KNOW there are some interesting stories. If you’re reading this, Babyface, start with Mary and go from there. “Not Gon Cry” is EVERYONE’S cleaning and crying song. Explain how we got there. Someone talk about the video! Please!! Watch below to hear the legend speak.

Who was your favorite character? Who did you relate to the most? My favorite was Robin because she was cute, in your face and proved to be not just a pretty face and body. I probably related more to Savannah. Always working and hoping that that miracle man will fall out of the sky or suddenly find me. Yes, I know it doesn’t work like that but it has for someone so there’s hope somewhere.

I’ll be sprinkling classics around each month so check back each month for a new one. I’ll be taking a closer look at these classics, mostly, in a way I hadn’t noticed before.

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