Positive Propaganda: Black Women Are LOVED
Don’t let the media fool you…black women are, and can be, truly loved. Black love DOES EXIST. Do we have work to do as a people to reclaim purity, safety, and holistic health in our romantic relationships? Yes. Do we see examples of black relationships that are anything but gentle and loving, both in our communities and on our television screens? Unfortunately, yes. But black love is not, I repeat, NOT a striped unicorn of a scenario; IT EXISTS!
The picture of Barack and Michelle above touched me beyond measure when it found me (yes, it found me) today. The image speaks profoundly to our current state of affairs as black people, and what we need to see more often in our relationships. The desolate, semi-dilapidated background is likened to the hostile, chaotic, and cold world we as black women sometimes inhabit. The colors, stark, bleak, black and white with hints of gray, are strikingly similar to our wounded feminine souls that we must work to heal on a daily basis. Yet, in the midst of chaos and darkness stand two united as one; he with a furrowed brow and protective embrace, pondering how to plot a course of safety, comfort, and success for his loved one and their union. She with a contented, confident smile of one who knows she’s in good, safe, capable hands – no worry in her world – her man’s ‘got this.’ THAT’S black love at its finest.
Some say, “yeah, but that’s only one couple out of millions, and a famous couple at that – they’re different…better…practically nonexistent where I come from.” Yes, this is true, but again, IT EXISTS. Like a tiny plant on a lonely planet, if one exists, so can others. They simply need to be developed, fed, and nurtured.
I know I’m not alone in being aware of at least one black couple who are MONAGAMOUS (don’t let the lies fool you; monogamy in black marriage also exists, and is possible), loving, successful (or striving toward success) and united in spirit and in deed. Black love is what saved us as a people in the days of slavery and during the Jim Crow era of segregation, as we sought to define ourselves in this new country and create havens of safety for ourselves and our offspring. It existed once, and can continue to thrive – if we let it – if we demand it, and do not settle for anything less.
What’s happened in the last twenty to thirty years that now sees our men degrading black women in the media, in song, and through action? When did ‘women of the night’ and strippers (the dancing wounded) become the image of black women hailed by our men who were sent here by God to love, keep, and protect us? And why are we letting this happen?! Are we not demanding more from our men? When did simply having a child from a black man, but not feeling worthy of or insisting on his fidelity, commitment, protection, and unconditional love become the norm – the creation of the ill-fated and disrespected “baby mama”? We deserve more. Black love demands more.
As many of you know, a lot of media attention was recently paid to our young black stars Rhianna and Chris Brown as they reunited in song after having engaged in a toxic, destructive, abusive relationship. Reactions were mixed, with some feeling betrayed by Rhianna for returning to her abuser, and others cheering for a full reconciliation, pledging their hope for the success of “black love.” I’m here to tell you today, sisters, that what those two poor souls are engaged in IS NOT LOVE, and is certainly not indicative of black love. What that is is a dance of co-dependancy and addiction, fueled by substance abuse and the deadly pull of what’s termed “negative love” or trauma bonding (if you’re not familiar with the term “trauma bonding”, look it up when you get a chance; very insightful). Two young kids, both from violent homes, who are unconsciously repeating the pattern they grew up witnessing: daddy hits, mama stays, men abuse, women take it. Again, that is NOT love, and we need to educate our people, especially our young girls (our kittens, if you will) to recognize and know the difference.
Also, today’s “urban” media isn’t doing much to help the case and cause for black love. I’ve noticed the rising popularity of songs that depict violence against women, especially by our young rap & hip-hop stars. A new song by “artist” (quotes purposefully inserted) Bei Meijor (with rapper J. Cole) titled “Trouble” struck me the most. Currently in heavy rotation on urban radio stations, the lead singer croons various directives and orders to his girlfriend (“I told you not to”), and then describes the resulting negative consequences for her disobedience (“It’s gon’ get you in trouble”). This song exemplifies the common, current mindset of our young black men in reference to how romantic relationships should be conducted, and it’s both shocking and startling. View a sample of the lyrics below:
We both bad at it
Told myself no more hittin’ n-ggas girlfriends
Thats my old bad habit
Here you go, round that
Already know, what I’m staring at
I mean from top to bottom your body is problem so
Somebody better take care of that
Better than, the n-gga let ‘em in
When your man aint home, you can let him in
Late night Letterman
I aint gon tat-a-tale
Damn your ass bad as hell
The responsibility to define, revive, and save black love is ours. We can’t blame our men if we accept this type of treatment. We must teach our young black girls (kittens) that this is not love; we must educate them on what real love is! We must love and respect ourselves enough to know that we deserve emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual health and safety in our relationships. And if we do not know what that means or looks like, then those of us who do, or who have seen REAL black love in action, MUST EDUCATE our sisters and our community on its existence.
I didn’t grow up in a Cliff and Clair Huxtable world, but it was close enough. It was close enough to know that my generation could achieve what the Huxtables represented, and perfect what my parents and ancestors began, through personal will, faith, and help from God. And this, ladies, is our task – our charge. We must become aware and educate, both each other, our men, and our entire community, on the reality and NEED for true black love in our lives.
Our survival depends on it.
So, let me end this post with a few descriptions of what black love really is, and how to recognize it in action:
In black love, a man takes charge, follows through, and protects, provides, and presents for his woman. He respects you, your family, your thoughts, and your opinions. He is a man of his word, and is both honest and communicative. He is chivalry in action: he opens doors for you with a smile, pulls out your chair, walks on the outside of the curb, and holds doors open for you as you enter and exit. He uses soft tones, NEVER YELLS OR CURSES AT YOU (even when angry) and does not touch you aggressively. He make plans with you and asks your opinion – does not assume or control you nor situations you are in; you are a team. He believes in God, or a power greater than himself. He is humble and fun-loving, and smiles more than he frowns. He knows how to control his emotions. He is faithful and monogamous. He is your biggest cheerleader, and is ALWAYS on your side. He is your best friend. And, more than anything, he makes you feel warm, safe, and comfortable: where there is fear, there is no love; remember that.
There is so much more to say about black love, and about black women in love, but let’s begin here. The qualities listed above may seem far fetched to some, and a fairy tale to others, but know that these are the base qualities that must be present in order to develop a strong, loving, secure relationship, and are not too much to ask. We can do this; let’s demand it. And remember, in millions of homes as we speak, it already exits.