Kenya Barris Ties Comedy and Commentary Together in “You People”

“You People”, a new romantic comedy, made its debut on Netflix Jan. 20, just in time for Black History Month.

Samira Barnett

You People, a new romantic comedy, made its debut on Netflix Jan. 20, just in time for Black History Month. Several well-known actors appear in this film, including Eddie Murphy, Lauren London, Nia Long and others.

Kenya Barris directed yet another film centered around African Americans, following in the footsteps of previous projects such as the recent film Entergalactic, the Black-ish series and BlackAF. 

This film addresses many important issues in society, such as racism andinterracialrelationships and how these issues affect one’s own life journey. It provides a viewpoint for both races, as well as their respective religions of Islam and Judaism. 

You People revolves around Amira (Lauren London) and Ezra (Jonah Hill) as they navigate their interracial relationship in the face of prejudice and racism.

The film begins with a podcast featuring Ezra and his best friend, Mo (Sam Jay), where they discuss topics surrounding African American culture. From the beginning, the audience is introduced to his perspective on how both black and white people will never truly be content with one another and why. 

However, Amira and Ezra challenge these notions when they form a friendship and unintentionally fall in love. The movie takes the viewer on a trip through this relationship, showing how other people’s opinions can affect one’s behavior. Before racism became ingrained in their thoughts as a result of their families’ beliefs, they enjoyed each other’s company and nothing else mattered. But as time went on, they started to distrust and question their relationship.

Near the end, when the couple split up and their parents bring them back together, it starts to seem a little too typical. This resembled an adolescent film more than an adult one, in my opinion. However, they were able to repair what was broken. 

Throughout the film, the actors also speak and use Gen Z slang such as “period” and “respectively” in a natural way. These colloquial references capture your attention and make the viewer relate more to the situations. The soundtrack was an excellent mix of R&B and rap.

They make references to various artists and draw parallels between Ezra’s actions and Drake’s different albums. It makes these scenes very comedic for those who are familiar with the work of these artists.

You People, in my opinion, was a film that stood out from others. They were able to tie difficult topics such as oppression that occurred hundreds of years ago to problems in today’s society while keeping the tone lighthearted. For me, this was the film’s most remarkable feature. On the other hand, racist jokes and accusations became tiresome. However, this repetition also seems to indicate the continuation of a never-ending cycle of racial prejudice.

This is a film that I believe is well worth seeing. While corny and predictable at times, the movie exposes viewers to the feelings and thoughts of people from both perspectives. It makes you think about how racism affects both parties, not just one, while also making you laugh.



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