- Marcus Watkins has a difficult but important conversation about race and abortion on “Love Life”.
- One of the showrunners told Insider she got “goose bumps” when she read this scene in the script.
- The “deadbeat daddy” stereotype has profound implications within the black American community.
Disclaimer: This story contains spoilers for episodes five and six of HBO Max’s “Love Life” Season 2.
Episode five of “Love Life” is tough on current HBO comedy-drama Max protagonist Marcus Watkins (William Jackson Harper).
During the episode titled “Becca Evans”, Marcus unexpectedly puts the woman he has casual sex with, Becca Evans (Leslie Bibb), pregnant during a threesome with Becca and one of his friends.
When she visits Marcus to break the news to him, it sparks a conversation about a woman’s right to have an abortion and how the subject of race plays into that choice.
Becca firmly tells Marcus to keep the child. But she thinks she’s resolved any conflict that might arise if Marcus doesn’t want the child by telling him that he can be as involved (or not involved) in the child’s life as he wants.
When Marcus tells her that her solution isn’t the quick fix she wants because he’s a black man, Becca asks, “What does race have to do with anything?”
“Because people are going to judge me differently from you. These are just facts,” Marcus replies.
By bringing this to Becca, Marcus brings to light a negative, but unfortunately common, stereotype about black fathers.
“Love Life” evokes the “myth of the missing black father” in the tense scene between Marcus and Becca
Marcus’ assessment of his situation raises a fair point. If he chose not to be in his child’s life, even with Becca’s permission, he could be seen by strangers as “abandoning” his child and contributing to an unfortunately common stereotype of black fathers – something that Becca, a privileged white woman, has probably rarely had to think deeply.
“Love Life” does not call this stereotype by its name, which essentially says that black fathers too often reject their parenting responsibilities, within the scene. But it’s obvious Marcus means when he calls Becca for ignoring the reality of his predicament as a future black father.
He was notably mentioned by then-President Barack Obama, who was himself raised by a single white mother, in his 2008 Father’s Day remarks to the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, such than reprinted by The New York Times.
He said in part: “What too many fathers are missing – too many lives and too many homes are missing. They have let go of their responsibilities, acting like boys rather than men.”
Obama goes on to say that this is especially true within the black American community.
The former president then hinted in his 2008 speech that growing up in a single parent household is the direct cause of “poverty”, higher crime rates, higher jail rates and dropout rates. higher.
“We need fathers to realize that the responsibility doesn’t end with conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man isn’t the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one, ”Obama said in 2008.
By deciding on her own to keep the pregnancy, Becca forces Marcus to either become a father or be called a “deadbeat dad,” which has harsher repercussions and judgment for black men.
There is no easy resolution to Becca and Marcus’ argument. But as a white woman whose partner is a black man, she has a responsibility to listen and understand the position she is putting him in.
Love Life Showrunners Recognized How Important and Rare the ‘Becca Evans’ Scene Was
Becca eventually aborts her pregnancy in season two episode six, “Becca Evans Part II,” so Marcus doesn’t become a dad until he’s ready. But the conversation between Marcus and Becca remains one of the strongest moments of the season so far.
Bridget Bedard, one of the “Love Life” showrunners, told Insider that she got “goose bumps” reading the scene from the script, written by Ali Kinney. Bedard said she instantly knew that “this scene must exist”.
“I have never seen this scene on television,” Bédard said.
In defending himself, Marcus spoke for many black men who carry the burden of the “missing black father” stereotype and have no “choice” to verify their child.
Rachelle Williams, another “Love Life” season two co-host, also pointed out to Insider that Becca is “still a privileged white woman who could take liberties and should be verified at that time.”
“And so is Marcus, too,” she told Insider, noting that the episode was also about a woman’s right to choose. “She’s not wrong to do whatever she wants with her body.”
“Love Life” does an important job of simply bringing up these issues of abortion and race. And I hope that by bringing the stereotype of the “deadbeat daddy” within the black community to the knowledge of more people in this way, more people will be inspired to do the job of helping dismantle. the stereotype.
The first six episodes of Season 2 of “Love Life” are now available to stream on HBO Max.