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Issue 17 Out Now

Black Love: A Revolution of History Full of Being Unapologetically Black


Photo by Shingi Rice on Unsplash


When we look at TV shows or films, how is Black love portrayed? Ultimately, I saw it for the first time when I watched Madea’s Family Reunion when I was a child. Some of us see Black love like Malcolm X and Betty Shabaz, Barack Obama, and Michelle Obama, or the love between a Black parent and their children. What about Black love makes it so revolutionary — so unique?

Taking it back to the struggle of enslavement, genocide, and the overall silence of Black individuals — Black love often connects to the themes of struggle, economic disparity, mental health, and other sufferings. The list goes on.


But that is what the majority of movies have displayed, right?

Black love is more than just the connection to suffering. Black love is supportive, rejuvenating, creative — Black love is a song of beautiful rhythms formed together as one, each relinquishing in each others’ flaws and strengths.

Black love can be of any sexual orientation or gender. A great example of this is the support from Gabrielle Union-Wade and Dwayne Wade through the scrutiny and ignorance towards Zaya, their transgender daughter.

Many in the Black community voiced concern over Wade’s decision in accepting his daughter's truth, but the Wade family, in response, continued to advocate for unity and equality by voicing how proud they are of their daughter and the LGBTQ+ community.

An example of Black love that many of us recognize is none other than Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Often, Pinkett Smith details the ups and downs of their relationship, highlighting what it means to have an equal support system between partners.

Although Pinkett Smith was recently hated on for her “engagement” with another celebrity while being separated, still married to Smith, they pushed through the judgments, another example of Black love represents.

Black love doesn't just relate to stars of our time, it is all around us, and is led by strong ancestors.

In the 1800s, Blacks did not have the right to marry, or even the right to be a citizen. Although they had obstacles, they still made it important to hold ceremonies commemorating a marriage, solely for them and their community to hold onto forever.

Once Black Americans were able to legally marry, the rate of marriage increased to a bigger number than their white counterparts during the 1890s until the early 1960s. This is another representation of taking pride in Black love and coming together as one for Black rights

This same foundation of strong relationships is what many saw during the Civil Rights Movement, a period of time where Coretta Scott King supported her husband, Martin Luther King, Jr., in his fight for Black rights.

Coretta and Betty stuck by their husbands, while their husbands both celebrated and appreciated them. Both of these hard-working women had to endure scrutiny just as much as King and Malcolm X.

Let us not forget when Malcolm X and his wife were repeatedly scared for their safety, before and after the bombing of their family home.

In a hand-writteen note taken from King’s autobiography, King expresses his vulnerability towards Coretta dearly.
“Darling, I miss you so much. In fact, much too much for my own good. I never realized that you were such an intimate part of my life — my life without you is like a year without a spring time, which comes to give illumination and heat to the atmosphere…O excuse me, my darling. I didnt mean to go off on such a poetical and romantic flight. But how else can we express the deep emotions of life other than in poetry? isn’t love too ineffable to be grasped by the cold calculating hands of intellect?” -King, Atlanta. July 18, 1952.

Resources:

“Black Love: A Symposium.” African and African-American Studies, 23 June 2016, afs.ku.edu/black-love-symposium-80th-anniversary-zora-neale-hurston%E2%80%99s-their-eyes-were-watching-god-september-14.

“Chapter 5: Coretta.” The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, 6 June 2019, kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/publications/autobiography-martin-luther-king-jr-contents/chapter-5-coretta.

Jackson, Charreah K. “Black Love Through The Ages.” Essence, Essence, 1 Feb. 2017, www.essence.com/holidays/black-history-month/black-love-through-years/#61868.

“Meet Zaya: Dwyane Wade And Gabrielle Union’s 12-Year-Old Transgender Daughter That Is Living in Her Truth.” Talent Recap, 12 Feb. 2020, talentrecap.com/meet-zaya-dwyane-wade-and-gabrielle-unions-12-year-old-transgender-daughter-that-is-living-in-her-truth/.

Preston Mitchum Preston Mitchum is a Black queer writer and public speaker based in Washington. “Black Love Matters in Black History Month.” Sex Positive, 20 Sept. 2019, sexualbeing.org/blog/black-love-matters-in-black-history-month/.

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