“I essentially grew up three mothers — my grandmother, my aunt and my mom,” he explained. “So that idea of hypermasculinity never was my idea of the idea of masculinity. Similarly, with Isaac, you see how he cherishes the simple and softer, tender things.”
Noel also stressed the importance of seeing Black love portrayed on screen. “People want to see more Black love, and that’s a good thing,” he said. “People are going to show up, and I’m hoping they realize it’s OK to love on yourselves a little bit.”
The young actor said he understands and welcomes the inevitable comparisons between The Photograph and one of the most popular movies of all time about Black love — Love Jones.
“With regards to Love Jones, I think [The Photograph] stands alone in that we have some flashbacks and people in a different period. That’s a really cool element we didn’t have in Love Jones,” he said. “To be compared to a classic like that, that’s a great thing. I get the comparison, but I look at The Photograph as another book on the shelf.”
The Photograph opens in theaters worldwide on this Valentine’s Day, Friday, Feb 14. Check out the trailer below.