From Uptown Magzine — When Spike Lee released Jungle Fever in August 1990, in just a couple of hours, he single-handedly addressed an issue that had been raising eyebrows for years: interracial dating.

Even though in the early ’90s, interracial couples represented only 1.9 percent of the population, according to U.S. Census Bureau, there seemed to be a fascination, and for some, a disgust over interracial dating, specifically between African-American men and white women. Set in New York City, Flipper (Wesley Snipes), a married architect began an affair with his assistant, Angie Tucci (Annabella Sciorra), an Italian-American.

The affair seemed to stem from both characters’ deep curiosity about each other’s race, more so than mere physical attraction, from the contrast in their skin colors–his dark complexion to her pale, “lily-white” skin to their upbringings, which were worlds apart. After disclosing his secret affair to his best friend, Flipper confessed, “I have to admit I’ve always been curious about Caucasian women.” The friend declared that he had “the fever, Jungle Fever,” described as an attraction between two different races.

Then there’s the memorable scene where Flipper is scolded by a waitress played by Queen Latifah when she refuses to serve the couple while out on a date. There was outrage over an African-American man leaving his black wife for an Italian woman onscreen because movie-goers saw it happening in real life, but the story was deeper than just black and white.


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  • Alexandra

    I loved that movie. One of my fave Spike Lee films.
    Twenty years later a lot has changed.

    • Emmeaki

      20 years later, not much has changed! When I was with my ex-boyfriend, who was Albanian, people stared at us all the time, even in supposedly open-minded New York City. With another white guy I dated, my black boss and coworkers had no problem making snide comments to my face about who I was seeing. We have a long way to go!

    • Karmen

      Emmeaki,

      Tell me about it. I have encountered entirely too many people (and oddly most are minorities themselves) who are ready to make a snide or otherwise completely unnecessary comment about my husband and I.

      And 99.9% of the time I don’t even know these people! It’s rude and completely uncalled for. Some people certainly haven’t come THAT far along :-/

    • Alexandra

      @Emmeaki

      I know there are still negative attitudes towards it. But there are plenty of cities where no one cares. No one is getting lynched anymore. You are also allowed to marry someone of a different skin color.

      And I’d rather have someone make snide comments, than have that person try to cause harm to me.

  • desi

    hey can someone tell me what the meaning of the end of the movie? like no one can tell me
    was that his daughter asking him? or somerandom stranger on teh street?

  • jewel

    the ending was about the state of our society~ the degeneration of our society as if this could be his “daughter” if he didn’t get as act together.

  • Gylain

    dating anyone because of their skin colour is always negative which is why i never thought this movie was that great.

    • Emmeaki

      The point is that Flipper realized that they came together out of curiosity and not because of common interests. At the end you see the black lady and the white guy at the coffee shop (I think it was a coffee shop, haven’t seen the movie in a long time) who have been interacting with each other and seem interested in each other, they have a chance of developing a relationship based on something real and not something superficial. I think the point of the movie is that you can’t build a lasting relationship based on racial curiosity, there has to be something more.

  • Anonymiss

    Epic Scene from Jungle Fever…the roundtable with the wife and her girlfriends. I agree with @Emmeaki not much has changed. We’re still milling over the same…

    Jungle Fever: Black/ White Relations
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpOMQ41UB9c