MadameNoire Featured Video

All photos provided by Erica and Alana

Erica (left) is from Maryland and Alana (right) is from New York. The two knew each other through mutual friends in a basketball league. After running into each other repeatedly, eventually, Erica, who had been drinking, struck up a conversation with Alana and they started dating from there.  

They dated for two years and then Alana proposed to Erica in May 2016. They had both been on the receiving end of these proposals and joked that they would not be doing any asking in the new relationship, so they would be forever girlfriends.

Erica: We had both been on the receiving end of the prior proposals. So we would talk about it like, ‘I’m not proposing. Well, i’m not proposing. Fine we’ll just be girlfriends for life.’ I knew ‘I’m going to marry this woman so I should start planning. But unbeknownst to me, she had already been planning.

Alana: I bought a ring in January and I didn’t tell her.

MadameNoire: Alana, what let you know you should go ahead and propose?

Alana: I just knew from the beginning. I had a very, very bad ankle injuries and after that and everything we went through, seeing how supportive Erica was, in the midst of my depression–because it was me pretty much at my lowest–So it was just a matter of timing.

MN: There’s a lot of discussion about interracial dating in the Black community. If a Black woman is with a White man, she’s called a bedwench. And Black men are criticized for dating White women. But I rarely hear any discussion about Black women dating or marrying White women. Have you experienced any type of backlash or criticism?

Erica: Before we were together, when I met her I had a boyfriend and he was White. My family has always been very supportive. I was terrified to come out. And my dad said, ‘I don’t really care who you date. I will string up a girl, the same way I will string up a guy if they hurt you.’ And I was like, ‘Oh ok, that’s good to know.’

But the comments I heard on the street walking in Harlem with a White man, were different than walking with Alana. I have definitely heard the comments like, ‘How come you went that way?’ or ‘Oh, what’s he got?’ or ‘You just haven’t found the right man or the right Black man.’

Alana: And we get those comments sometimes. A lot of the times when we’re walking down the street in a more Black neighborhood, some of the men on the street will be like, ‘Why are you holding her hand?’ or ‘Can I hold your hand too?’

Erica: We were at a birthday party and I think this was probably the most extreme example that we’ve encountered together. We were at a nightclub, standing with our backs against the bar, very discreetly holding hands. And this guy, walks and tries to step between us. He grabs my free hand and tries to take our hands apart. It was one of those moments that escalated very quickly. Had I been there holding my ex-boyfriend’s hand, it would have escalated in a very different fashion.

Alana: I’ve also experienced, more recently, now that we’re having a kid, a lot of people being confused about the whole situation. Like, we think in five years, the entire world is going to be a light shade of cinnamon. But a lot of people don’t like that. I feel like I’m starting to hear those conversations more.

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