I’m a big fan of New York magazine, in large part because of its cultural coverage and willingness to give a platform to artists, institutions and subjects that other mainstream publications might not. A case in point is the slide show the site just devoted to the upcoming coffee table book “Vintage Black Glamour,” which showcases rarely seen photos of black leading ladies, many from Hollywood’s golden age. (I also once wrote about the first black supermodel, Donyale Luna, for www.nymag.com.) But even publications with the best intentions can make editorial missteps fueled by lack of diversity, and I was reminded of this when taking a look at the site’s recent list of the 25 Best Romantic Comedies Since “When Harry Met Sally.”
To say the list lacks diversity would be an understatement. There is only one film that made the cut that does not star white casts, the Taiwanese film
“The Wedding Banquet.” I wouldn’t have a problem with this if the rest of the list comprised films that were better than some of the ones omitted. But in what universe is “Knocked Up” better than “Boomerang,” which boasts one of the best comedic ensemble casts in film history? Of course there is a catch. “Boomerang’s” cast is predominantly black and New York magazine, for all of its strengths, does not have a track record to be proud of in its treatment of black romantic comedies.