Always There: On ‘Girls Trip’ and Friendship

By | July 20, 2017 at 6:00 PM

I am as mystified as you’re about to be when I tell you that a screening of Girls Trip turned into an emotional experience for me. The movie is a raunchy ridiculous joyride that drives straight to the heart of sisterhood from behind the wheel of a bro-comedy. In the span of two hours I chuffed out every possible form of laughter—from snorts to giggles, guffaws to embarrassed tittering. I snickered and chortled and tee-hee’d. All very undignified but such a good time. Girls Trip is wild…but dripping with pathos it ain’t. Still somewhere in the middle of the screening I leaned over and told my fellow Geek Girl Riot host Meagan, “I can’t review this movie.”

I still can’t, and I can hear you asking: Tell us why, girl? It’s because reviewing Girls Trip feels like a conflict of interest. If that sounds weird, I’ll go deeper and say there are films, books, paintings, plays, that feel less like art and more like memories; they playback our lives for us, making us feel everything we felt once upon a lifetime. At their worst these memory catalysts are called triggers; at their best they are daydreams—causing us to flashback on joy.

Girls Trip is about four women who transitioned from friends to sisters while attending an HBCU (historically black college or university). Eventually they named themselves the Flossy Posse and their bond sustained until adulthood, where misunderstandings and hidden secrets pushed them apart…until a trip to New Orleans for the Essence Music Fest gives them the reunion they all need.

Back in the day, when I was young (I’m not a kid anymore), I attended Howard University. On the very first day I met two women who would become my sisters in everything but DNA: Nickii and Tonda. We went through everything together. We survived many similarly ridiculous situations to the women in Girls Trip. There were crushes on dudes who had vise grips our hearts, and academic probations, shopping for yeast infection cream while trying NOT to let the pharmacist know which one of us was rising like dough. We’ll still never tell. There were drunken nights when one of us got so lifted she got stuck between her bed and the wall and couldn’t get out, and football players who snuck up on us in the middle of the night—making us forget we were amazons (’cause we squealed like Will Ferrell and ran). We didn’t dodge all the heartbreaks either: late night trips to the emergency room, flooded apartments, a man who attacked us in the middle of a KFC for no reason, forcing us to lock ourselves in the bathroom and wait him out. Our bond was so legendary that a random guy who we’d never met dubbed us “Da Trio” [read: The Trio] and it hasn’t changed. No matter how long we go without talking, when we pick up the phone no time has passed, the sisterhood is still strong.

Later, when Nickii and I joined the Homecoming Steering Committee, I got two new sisters: Monique and Renee. More hijinks ensued. Actually, straight-up shenanigans…however, whatever I need, whenever I am in need, those four women are there—immediately—most of the time before I finish calling their names.  

There’s a moment in Girls Trip when the boy band New Edition shows up. Meagan and I immediately did the entire choreography from the “If It Isn’t Love” video in synchronized precision. While dancing in my chair I thought about my girls; how Monique and I sang “Creep” by Radiohead that morning, how “Why Can’t You Come Home” by Ex-Girlfriend will get Nickii, Tonda, and me up and performing like we’re opening for Beyonce…and I smiled a little, and I cried a little, and that is the magic of Girls Trip—correction, that is the #blackgirlmagic of Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, and the magnificent Tiffany Haddish.

Asking me to rate Girls Trip out of 10 is like asking me to put a price on my memories and slap them up on eBay. I won’t do it. Y’all don’t have enough coins to bid on my joy. But here’s what I can give you: If you have a group of girls who’ve become the women that life wouldn’t taste as sweet without, then pour another round and head to the theaters, ’cause this crazy little movie is a celebration of sisterhood (and the sexy men in it add a little extra sugar around the rim of the glass…Oh hey, Larenz Tate.)

In the end, the best thing I can say is: Cheers to my girls, Nickii, Tonda, Mo’ and Ree, I love ya’ like I love good food. Let’s take a girls trip.

 

Go take a Girls Trip to the cinema this Friday, July 21!