Laz Alonso's credits include Avatar and TV’s Southland and Breakout Kings. But he is just as proud of his latest project, the comedy Jumping the Broom, opening May 6. “I feel blessed and privileged to have been a part of it,” says Alonso about the movie, in which he and Paula Patton play an engaged couple from different socioeconomic classes whose mothers (Loretta Devine and Angela Bassett) hate each other from the moment they meet. “Be prepared for fireworks,” he says, laughing.
But he also points out that there are important messages. “You see African-Americans in a very elegant, posh and beautiful world as very positive characters. It shows balanced depictions of us. And you also see how different we can be. Just because we’re all Black, we’re not carbon copies of each other. It teaches us to respect our differences. And it definitely teaches us where the tradition of jumping the broom came from,” says Alonso. “Slaves weren’t allowed to marry, so they created this tradition of jumping the broom—their own ceremony. It also teaches us how important it is to keep tradition alive. The minute you let go of tradition and throw it out, it gets lost and we’re no longer connected to our past and our ancestors.”
Alonso, who is single, also learned a few things about love and marriage from the film. “Just because you and your significant other may fall in love, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the families will fall in love with each other as well," he says. "It’s a tug of war, and the couple is being pulled in opposite directions. However, love must prevail and you must always put your mate first. It’s a lesson that’s evident in the film once you start seeing all the things that fall apart and some of the choices that the characters have to make.”
(Photo: Shareif Ziyadat/PictureGroup)