2015: The Year Black Love Came Back In Style
For a lot of people the fascination of romantic love comes from the image and connection between one’s parents or grandparents but I wasn’t privy to that experience. I first became infatuated with romantic love from books and movies who often were not characters of color. I began to read wonder if this novelty love was possible for a girl like me who was birthed into a family where there were no memories of my father kissing my mother on her cheek every morning as he ran out to work with his coffee in hand. I come from the era where fathers in the 1980’s were removed from the home because drugs, jail and mental curses that ravaged our community. The black community surely wasn’t built on single parent homes and broken promises but somewhere along the way things went wrong.
“In 1950, the percentages of white and African American women (aged fifteen and over) who were currently married were roughly the same, 67 percent and 64 percent, and only 17 percent of African-American children lived in a home with their mother but not their father. By 2010 that had increased to 50 percent. In 1965, only eight percent of childbirths in the Black community occurred out-of-wedlock. In 2010 that figure was 41 percent; and today, the out-of-wedlock childbirth in the Black community sits at an astonishing 72 percent. The number of African-American women married and living with their spouse was recorded as 53 percent in 1950. By 2010, it had dropped to 25 percent. ”
2015 was the year a myriad of high profile marriages and engagements that occurred in black celebrities such as Lance Gross (Actor), Will Packer (Producer), Yandy Harris, Kevin Hart (Comedian/Actor),Usher Raymond (Singer) and even Ms. Tina Knowles (Beyonce’s Mother)!I thought to myself ” oh great that’s amazing “Black CELEBS” are getting married and falling in love how fairy tale ish while us ordinary black folk are still trying to figure this relationship thing out.” Particulary us black women have been desperately reading books such as Gentlewoman: Etiquette for a Lady, from a Gentleman by Enitan O. Bereola II /, Hill Harper,The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris and Manology: Secrets of Your Man’s Mind Revealed by Tyrese Gibson (Author), Rev Run (Author) taking notes so that we can somehow attract and secure our prince charming. To my shocking surprise though slowly but surely I began to see more black couples getting married and engaged and Facebook was the vehicle that brought this news to my eyes. I remember at one point I called my best friend and told her everyone is getting married girl have you been in FB?! I calculted almost 50 weddings and engagements on my personal time alone between September and October which is surreal in my world. The pondering of why now were black couples taking the step to commit and get hitched.
Black love imagery is becoming more accessible now
When Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade released their wedding video back in september it was as if black love had a real life characters Their wedding video evoked emotion, passion but most importantly and authenticity which made their love seem so reachable. Likewise Social media pages via instagram such as Black Love Exists, Black Love Weddings ,African Sweetheart Weddings and even a black marriage series called Bridal Bliss via essence.com have opened our eyes and given us the lens to see ourselves in real love. Black men are trading in their bad chicks for one Queen and Black women are slowly but surely are trusting them to hold to this notion.
Online dating is no longer taboo
“You go into a spot that has 150 people and hope that five of those guys talk to you. The reality is, only one of them will, and the other four that you thought were cool are not going to approach, because that dude already did. (Whereas online) you get the other four, but you also get the other 150 to take a look at. At the end of the month, you’ve been exposed to thousands of people” said black people meet founder. Studies show that 617,218 People/Month visitblackpeoplemeet.com per month not even calclulating the other dating sites that exist.
The dating game is no cakewalk currently but the internet has become a option of finding love.Even actress/producer essence atkins found love on match.com and married her husband Jaime Mendez.
“I think internet dating is great! Some of my favorite married couples met online, but of course not all online dating stories end in marriage. But I think it’s great — for those that consciously want to settle down — because it allows you to be proactive about that intention. It expands the pool and forces you to figure out what values are important to you. Then, it gives you the opportunity to build a connection before meeting in person (if you desire). I certainly tried it!” –African -American Filmmaker/Newlywed Codie Oliver
Internet dating hasn’t been fully accepted technique in the black community but there are those risk taking black folk who at this point in the game clearly doesn’t care about what is accepted or not because finding Love is more important to them
Black Couples see value in legacy now
Tv shows in the 1970’s and 1980’s like Family Matters,The Jeffersons, The Cosby Show showed amazing positive examples of the black family unit, morals and values. Yet somewhere between generational shift and societal trends in the early 90s and beyond the importance of the black family and generational success dropped off the list of life goals.
“I think people are appreciating the value of love and the gift of having unconditional love. Finding that person who understands you and accepts you the way you are is an amazing thing. Also people are probably tired of the the dating game and seeing bad examples of what love is. I think my generation had a lot of single parent and divorced homes. As a result of that, we strive to do the opposite.” — Jessica Covington, African -American Millennial Newlywed
Thankfully this shift was not the end all be all for the black family unit. Prentis Covington said when it came to getting married to his wife Jessica, “I thought it was about time, because I know the woman that I was about to marry is my soul mate and there was no sense in waiting any longer. It was time to begin the next chapter, which was merging our worlds.” A large amount of black people especially in late 20s-30s demographic have began making strides to view the black family unit as COOL again!
“Marriage is on the rise with young black couples because people are finding their soul mates. They are finding that person that they cannot live without. They are finding that missing piece to their puzzle. And they know they cannot just let it go. If they let it go it might not come back around again. “– Renita July, African -American Millennial Newlywed
As we look toward a New Year continue to be open to love and all its possibilities. I do not mean love as sentiment or emotion but love as the highest good, the deep relationality of being itself. Love is the energy of union, the space between hearts where forgiveness, compassion, joy, thanksgiving and peace flourish in the birthing of oneness. Black love ultimately will heal us as a whole by bringing elements such as value, community and peace. Black love is on the rise and we are loving it!