Happy Black Women Would be Bad for Media Business

June 8, 2010  |  

By Theresa Lasbrey

Week after week, media reports remind single, educated, black women to worry themselves to death. Since when did the media become this obsessed with the state of black womanhood?  When did they start caring whether we made it?  Why all the recent concern and even coverage from Nightline?

An in-depth conversation with a male friend brought about the revelation: it’s The Obama Effect.  You may have noticed that since the commencement of the Obama presidency and declarations of our “post-racial” country, there have been numerous incidents that point to how race continues to matter and divide– it’s as if the Obama presidency rang an alarm.

President Obama, in being the first person of color elected into the U.S. presidency, fueled new possibility.  Suddenly, children of color could dream of something as seemingly absurd as becoming president.

President Obama’s election had another surprising effect as the cameras exposed the interaction he has with his wife.  During interviews pre- and post- election, you could see him look at Michelle Obama with open, unabashed desire & admiration. His chest would swell as Michelle addressed issues with the grace, precision and intelligence she wields so effortlessly.

And what does the media do to counter such a perfect and powerful example of a black woman–and her man–in love? They launch an anti-black woman campaign:

The Obamas are not the norm! Do not dream of this for yourself!

To the media, the Obamas are unusual, given previous reports that successful black men “do not marry” black women.  To them, it is an anomaly that the most successful black man in the country, if not world, chose a super-educated, unambiguously black woman to live with and bear his children—whom he treats with equal respect and admiration.

As a result, media talking heads, producers and money-makers have found a jackpot story angle: harp on the single black woman’s sufferings and remind her how impossible it will be for her to attain Michelle Obama’s dreams. The “impossibility” of being Michelle Obama will spur  a “single black women” discussion for infinity and keep the media channels busy for a long, long time. Cha-ching!

Well. I refute the belief that single black women are in danger of being miserable for eternity.  That is not my lot life.  I have loved and been loved intensely by formidable matches whose breath I took away as they did mine.  I’ve encountered and dated black men of prominence and unparalleled intelligence again and again.

You can be completely and utterly loved whenever you choose to love.

There is hope. Do not allow yourself to be ravaged by statistics and media reports.  They are not your reality.  They’re the reality shaped by predictability and suppression.  You do not have to choose that reality. Bask in the glow of the Obamas’ ultimate example of Black love attainable. That simple hope will give you a future that the media says is improbable because they don’t know the enduring power of your dreams.

Theresa Lasbrey is a business strategy consultant with a penchant for poetry & self-actualization which makes sense for someone who studied literature at Cornell University. Follow her journey at www.tessism.com and on Twitter @tessism

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  • Guest

    Yeah thats all well and good for an adult.  But what about the perceptions of black children, especially black little girls?  That is why this is so serious and needs an all out attack on all fronts.

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  • Thanks for the interesting post, I'll be checking back later to read more. Keep up the good work!



    This was a great article. I look foward to reading more from you!

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  • La Trale

    WOW… Now I can breathe …

    Thank you for givin' us a break… We really needed it…

    Thank you, Theresa Lasbrey.

  • I hope more people read this so we can some good dialogue going.

  • melissa


  • Real good point– I hate that the media tries to destroy Black people. Im even more sorry that it actually for the most part works.

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  • Great article! Would love to interview the author for Internet Radio Show! Please contact me!

  • Take A Hike Brother.

    Why are we taking advice from Steve Harvey and Sherri Shepard?

    I saw the ABC story and laughed.

    I am happy, single, and loving it.

  • Sharifa

    THANK YOU! Good grief, am I tired of hearing about the terrible plight of Black women, narrated by everyone except…Black women. It's been a systematic assault, and your article is a welcome defensive shield.

    I am so glad that this loveless, hopeless narrative was not preached (in word or deed) in my home. My freedom led me to good love.

  • Paul D

    Bravo!!! I stand with and I am humbled before the beauty, wisdom and grace of the black woman!!! Well said! And ladies, to paraphrase Obama, have the Audacity of Hope! Its your most enduring and endearing trait!

    I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to love and be loved by an amazing black woman. In loving and being loved by her, I became a better person, a better man, than I dared aspire to be. Such is the power and treasure of your love. Don't just give it away for fear of being alone, but give it freely to a deserving man, and it will enrich you both, in unforseen and beautiful ways.

    We are out here, looking for you!

  • Nadine

    I applaud this article. I was involved in a six year relationship with an intelligent, sucessful black man. He passed away last year. When he looked at me, I felt his love, desire, and complete admiration. I would melt every time he looked at me and sometimes feel embarassed when in public because his love was so intense. We took it slow. We learned, loved and brought out the best in each other. Sisters, what the Obamas have is not unattainable. It can be had. Do not settle because you fear dying alone. When you’ve had the best, even death cannot take away this pure, magical love. It’s fulfillment is forever.

  • forealydoe

    Awesome article. I will be back to this site.

  • AB

    Great article! Based on the state of media, I'm just glad that my T.V. stopped working so long ago that I have managed to detox. The tube is trying to be a self-fulfilling prophecy by deflating the African woman, making a retreat call to the African man, and issuing a call to arms for the oppressors. There is healing in the truth and that's why media is flooded with lies.

    What history has actually proven is that we will never be completely silenced, so thank you for your dew drop of anointing

  • Annelli

    The truth finally has been spoken (or written about in this case). I too, am tired of viewing these shows that talk about how it black women are single and are less likely to find true love with a black man or any man for that matter. It's almost as if there is this desire to see black women in the gutter, voided of any love and happiness. I love to see the Obamas show so much love and affection towards each other…I know they media can't wait to "catch" Obama with his pants down, so they can harp on it.

  • SoleSoulJah

    Thank You for addressing the truth of the matter.

  • totally agree.

    when the slew of "single black women are doomed" stories starting to hit, my first question is…who is benefiting from this? certainly not black women. the media has no interest in us that isn't monetary & these types of things scare folks & sell books.

    we can push back tho…keep it up!

  • AKing

    Also we must realize that media is hooked into the powers that control the social fabric that has benefited from the disarray of families (and not just black families). What does Jimmy need with mom's home cooked meals when he can BUY McD's, which he got the idea from hmmm, TV? Get what I'm saying. Same holds true for our families. Men and women are taking responsibility and stock of each other and ourselves by seeing the model of the President and First Lady. Conversely, it would be interesting to see how Black bridal webs, tools, mags, and resources have exploded – I am hooked on Essence's Will You Marry Me series. Where men express their heartfelt love for the women they intend to walk through life with.

  • AKing

    "unambigously black" – love that! Ha Ha. And it is possible if you don't let a media machine supplant your dream with their nightmare. Turn off the tubes people – I did, and I've been happier, and more fulfilled, and BUSY! Now if you can't go cold turkey, at least be selective. Thank you for this article my friend.

  • Kyla

    Thank you for the encouragement….

  • the BLACK truth

    …..and that's the reason why black women should NOT lower their standards! Use Michelle Obama as blueprint for the person you ASPIRE to be

  • TRS

    I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm glad that another strong, brilliant, independent Black woman realizes that the dream is attainable despite what the media or anybody else has to say about it. And I love seeing so many comments from others who believe the same thing!

  • nice post. thanks.

  • The Obamas are not the norm! Do not dream of this for yourself!

    You hit the nail on the head! THAT is EXACTLY what the media is trying to drive home. This success is an anomaly, the reality is baby mamahood, so accept that! SMH

  • AL

    Love the article AND the comments. Thank you everyone! And to Truth–you ain't neva lie! Steve Harvey figured out the highs and lows of love only after he %^&ed up one or two previous marriages. Sherry Shepherd is divorced. You want an expert? Ask ME! Although relatively young (34), I've been in crazy black love for well over a decade and we're still going strong!

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  • This article is a breath of fresh air. The media story de jour for black women is that they are supposedly un-marriageable. Theresa's article carefully and succinctly points out the media's agenda in crafting a "single" narrative to suit its own personal needs. Of particular importance is Ms. Lasbrey's assertion that, "I refute the belief that single black women are in danger of being miserable for eternity. That is not my lot life. I have loved and been loved intensely by formidable matches whose breath I took away as they did mine. I’ve encountered and dated black men of prominence and unparalleled intelligence again and again.You can be completely and utterly loved whenever you choose to love".

    Thank you for offering us a different narrative.

  • tigermichal

    all this is designed to tear down the black family

  • Kool

    I love this article as well and I truly believe that you are with the person you are supposed to be with AT THAT TIME?!?

    Single Status ??? Ok… And I dont think being married or a being a professor can qualify you to make bold statments that you clam is a consensus. The same way I dont believe that being married mor than once or single disqualifies you.

    People can only advise you based on what they feel they know and that may be coming from a verrrry limited source!

    When I'm single I get more done in my life, when I'm not I cater too much to "him" and get all domesticated – my choice is to saty single until I no longer desire to be?? Point blank period

  • Ali

    Great article Tess! I look forward to reading more articles like this in the future.

  • Simone

    Great article T! The barrage of articles, "celeb"-filled panels and media hype around the tainted black woman have certainly prompted me to turn a deaf ear. How can we really listed to single or multi-wedded "Relationship Experts?" While I do agree that there are issues within the black community, self inflicted by both men and women, let's focus on actual strategies for successful unions. Don't talk about it, be about it!

  • Carm

    YES! Luv it Theresa!

  • PBG

    Thank you so much for this article. This needs to be said so black women (myself included) this false sense of woe being imposed upon us. We are as lovable and capable of having healthy, successful partnerships with our men as anybody else. It's just good for business right now to try and paint us all as miserable shrews who will die alone. It's all nothing but divisive rhetoric manufactured to further hurtful stereotypes and sell newspapers and TV ad time.

  • Dottie

    THANK YOU! Well written, I thought I was the only one who felt inundated by everyone from Katie Couric to Steve Harvey (and everyone in between), telling me all the reasons my chances of having a successful relationship is next to none. No I am not too picky, my standards are not too high, no black men do not only marry white women, no all the good men are not either gay or in jail. God hasn’t placed my soul mate in front of me as yet, and when I am ready to meet him, guess what I will!

  • Great post Theresa!

    I couldn't have said it better myself!

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