This Day in Film: "Jungle Fever"

This Day in Film: "Jungle Fever"

The controversial film about interracial love opened 20 years ago today.

Published June 7, 2011

Nowadays, interracial couples are an everyday thing. You see them all over the place, from reality television couple Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian to Maya Rudolph’s fictional parents in Bridesmaids. However, 20 years ago the “swirl” was very much frowned upon in Black and white circles. That's exactly why Spike Lee  decided to tackle the topic in the groundbreaking film Jungle Fever, starring Wesley Snipes and Annabella Sciorra.

 

The film followed a married Black man who cheated on his wife with an Italian woman at his job. His marriage crumbles, and when the woman’s family finds out she is dating a Black man she is beat up and thrown out of her house. There was also the backstory of Samuel L. Jackson’s character, who played Snipes’ drug-addicted brother. Jackson’s portrayal won him critical acclaim even though he was shunned at the Academy Awards.

 

Jungle Fever was a social phenomenon in 1991 and grossed over $40 million at the box office. It also sparked the film careers of Queen Latifah and a young Halle Berry, who played Jackson’s girlfriend.

 

Check out the vintage trailer above.

Written by The controversial film about interracial love opened 20 years ago today.

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