Before I share my thoughts, I want to give you all this disclaimer. I’m a Black man; 28 years old, single, with a weakness for Black women. I’m sharing with you all my perspective on what I see regarding black relationships in media and in real life. So, this will not be a playbook because I don’t have the answers…just a lot of questions.
Does Black Love still exist?
I’ve been asking myself this question for a while now and I’m starting to believe—especially in my generation—that it’s just a symbol and not reality. I’ve seen these symbols throughout my childhood and as an adult; Dwayne & Whitley, Martin & Gina, Cliff & Claire, Jay & Bey, Will & Jada, Barack & Michelle, Mom & Dad. As euphoric as these symbols are, I’m having a hard time believing that they are obtainable for myself and for a lot of my peers. Which is strange because I see these symbols all of the time on social media (#RelationshipGoals). But in reality, the respect that a lot of Black men and Black women genuinely have for each other is almost non-existent, which discredits the fantasy that is Black Love. I mean, one minute we’re calling each other “Kings and Queens” online, but then the next minute we’re calling each other “B*tches and Ain’t-Sh*t Niggas” in person. Contradiction.
I know that some of you already disagree with me and I’m glad because I need someone to educate me on why I’m questioning something that I’ve seen all of my life growing up. My parents will have been married 32 years come June 2, 2016, and they were together 9 years prior to their marriage, which equals 41 years as a couple. So I know that this symbol was the reality for a certain generation at a certain time. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve continuously seen and experienced the antithesis of what this symbol is, which has left me with a lot of doubts and a lot of questions.
In regards to media, I don’t see Black Love throughout the entertainment spectrum. I see dysfunction. The majority of the popular Reality TV shows include divorced housewives and deadbeat dads. The television sitcoms showcase interracial relationships or homosexual ones. And as for the film industry, well, Beyond The Lights was the last mainstream romance that I can think of which starred a Black man and a Black woman (correct me in the comments below if you can think of another, maybe two). I see more images on-screen with Black men and Black women in competition with each other to win the title as the dominant gender in a “situationship,” rather than seeing them together happily enjoying each other’s affection. Comedian Steve Harvey has been one of the many catalysts behind this tug of war with his book and film Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man; which I don’t agree with for a number of reasons.
- Since when did Steve Harvey get the qualifications to give out relationship advice? That’s just like Donald Trump teaching an African-American Studies course; a clusterf*ck of confusion.
- This idea that men and women, in general, are supposed to think alike and run game on each other for the sake of protecting/stroking their own ego isn’t going to build a healthy relationship, it’s just going to add more layers of distrust between them.
And that’s the last message that Black men and Black women need to hear right now because we have enough damage due to rap lyrics, respectability debates, and overall media propaganda.
As for my pursuit to “Happily Ever After” with a Black woman, not so successful. And they’re not doing anything that a lot of other women my age aren’t doing, it’s just that the traditional love story trope that I’m looking for isn’t as popular anymore as it once was; boy meets girl, they fall in love, get married, have kids, and live happily ever after. Sorry, Mom and Dad, a lot of women my age aren’t asking for that. Here’s what I’m hearing:
Fellas, what Rihanna and what many women are saying in relations to this video is that we are expendable. That’s right, gone are the days that women need to be subtle about what they want and need, when they want and need it, and by who they want and need it from. She’s not looking for Prince Charming to come whisper sweet nothings after a stressful day, she wants her prince (for the moment) to bring her vitamin D and that’s it. Cuddle afterwards? Bruh, no; go in there and wash, don’t make a mess, put the toilet seat back down, and lock her door on your way out. It’s real out here.
Ladies, am I wrong? Please correct if I am.
Actress Meagan Good and her husband, Devon Franklin, have been very vocal regarding sexual prowess and the responsibility behind intimacy with their new book The Wait. She mentioned in a radio interview with Sway In The Morning, that women are just as guilty when it comes to being the culprit of sexuality and advising that a lot of women can operate, to some degree, the same way that a man can. She also said, “just because you have the ability to move a certain way does not mean that it benefits you, and if anything, I would say that it hurts you a lot more than you could really realize right now.” Which I agree with, because sexual responsibility is needed in order to find love. If women are just as comfortable doing the same thing that a lot of men do, then it’s going to be hard for me, as a man, to take the courtship seriously because I’ll know that only one need and want is being sought after.
The idea and image of Black Love is beautiful beyond belief. But the pursuit, in this day in age, at times, feels like a waste of time. However, I can’t bring myself to give up on it because it’s an aspect that I know will complete me as a Black man. That unconditional love that the old folks would talk about, that Lauryn Hill would sing about, and that I see between my parents is what I want and need. I don’t have the energy or the patience to pursue the Black Love symbol for the sake of Internet sensationalism. I want that genuine respect, need, passion, and care that is Black Love. Maybe it does still exist. Maybe it’s hidden. I don’t know, I don’t have all of the answers…just a lot of questions.
Until Next Time…