The award-winning documentary “Kiss & Tell,” (produced by Darryl Pitts and Sheryl Lee Ralph), explores the images of African American romance in cinema and includes interviews with some of black Hollywood’s A-list, including Tyler Perry, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington, Vanessa Williams, Jasmine Guy, Larenz Tate and Diahann Carroll among others.
The stars also discuss the evolution of their own ideas of gender, love and sexuality. Rolling out discussed “Kiss & Tell” with co-producer Pitts recently.
Pitts’ career in film began about 17 years ago, when he started out with BET shows “Comic View” and “Teen Summit.” Pitts tells rolling out that he delved into the subject of black love for his latest film endeavor because it hasn’t been done before.
“As a producer, you try to find ideas that are new and have not been done before, and so I was looking and there was no film done about black romance,” Pitts states. “Initially, I started it as a television show, and it would have been very much about who [stars] would want to work with, and it had a lot more of an entertainment flair to it.”
The television show idea didn’t take flight because the syndication deal wanted to bury the show in the wee hours of the morning, Pitts reveals.
“I had a deal with a syndication company which I won’t mention, and I looked at the time slots and they were 1 and 2 o’clock in the morning. And this was not the kind of project that needed to be on at 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning, so I pulled the project. I left a lot of money on the table and pretty much shelved it,” he says.
There are many revealing moments in Kiss & Tell, such as when Lynn Whitfield describes love and romance as “being close to God.” There were a few surprises, as well, Pitts adds.
“What we see of people on-screen is such a small part of who and what they are,” he says. “I had the opportunity to have Isaiah Washington in the film, and Isaiah always had this reputation, [after he got into trouble for homophobic comments about a co-star on “Grey’s Anatomy”], but he’s one of the nicest people that I met. He’s extremely nice and intelligent and a bright guy.”
Personally speaking, Pitts says that one of the best representations of black love that he’s seen on-screen is the film Claudine, starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones.
View the trailer for “Kiss & Tell.”