by Mikayla Moore-Bastide
As a black woman, I like seeing movie protagonists that look like me, act like me, etc. Netflix has been releasing some exceptional movies lately, and I am here for it. It’s a different feeling when I see myself in the main character of an amazing movie.
This brings me to the new Netflix Original “Uncorked”.
A young black man in his twenties has to choose between running the generational BBQ business and chasing his dream to become a master sommelier. It’s what I would call a dramedy.
This movie is so important because it is drenched in representation and clashing cultures.
The director, Prentice Penny, deserves an applause for not following the stereotypical black Hollywood narrative. There is no gang violence, no underdog sports star, no struggle, no petty drama, no racism and no superhero story. It’s a feel-good movie about a shy, gumpy, motivated black twenty-something year old man from Memphis chasing his dream.
After this movie came out, I researched black wine connoisseurs and sommeliers and they do definitely exist.
“Uncorked” gives hope to the youth in the black community that we can really do whatever we want. The protagonist, Elijah, has a passion for wine and used his own culture to elevate it. In the film, a small spoiler (sorry), he uses rappers to describe the wine. He compares Chardonnay to Jay-Z saying it is “the granddaddy of wine” and “goes with anything” which I can agree with. I love chardonnay. The next comparison is Pinot Grigio and Kanye West saying “oh you just thought I was a white wine? Well I’m about to get stupid” and if that doesn’t say controversial Kanye I don’t know what does. The last comparison he makes is Riesling and Drake saying it is sweet, soft and “in it’s feelings.” Period.
Penny flawlessly morphs hip hop culture and wine culture in just one scene.
I, myself, have not seen too many people in the black community have a passion for wine before this movie. After this movie came out, I researched black wine connoisseurs and sommeliers and they do definitely exist. There’s not enough but the black wine culture is on the rise.
According to the official website of The Court of Master Sommeliers, as of February 2020, there are 269 master sommeliers in the world. To break this down further 170 are Americans, 144 are men, 28 are women, and only two are black.
The Master Sommelier diploma is the highest achievement a professional can earn in fine wine and beverage services
Although this is a small number, members of the black community are already making space for themselves and thriving, as usual.
NBA star Carmelo “Melo” Anthony has a Youtube series called “What’s in Your Glass” and talks to various celebrities about wine and other topics. Anthony started this series at the end of March in the midst of COVID-19.
Anthony was talking to Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler in the first episode.
“The wine culture within sports in general has blossomed.” Anthony said on his IG live. They spoke about their favorite wines, their personal collections and the story behind their favorites.
Anthony spoke with Jamie Foxx in his second episode about wine culture and black culture. They expressed how much they appreciated “Uncorked” and how it represents the fact that black culture and wine are a beautiful thing. Anthony talks on how he gained knowledge on wine and wants to rewrite the stereotype of wine drinkers. That anyone can enjoy it and we don’t need to be rich and wealthy to have a good glass of wine. An NBA player!
Anthony even touched on the fact that he is going to have his own wine soon along with Dwayne Wade and others.
Representation, representation, representation.
That is what matters and that is why “Uncorked” is so important.
Having an interest in wine has a certain stereotype attached to it, white, rich and snobby. I like to know that I am already breaking those stereotypes because I am none of these. I even started a wine blog for college students because wine doesn’t discriminate. A simple search on the internet for black sommeliers can open a new door to stories and experiences about bringing together two differing cultures.
I hope that a little black boy or black girl who watches that movie finds their passion and fights for it.