What is “Black Love”?

November 15, 2011  |  

In melodramatic fashion, Dr. Drew enlisted matchmaker Paul Carrick Brunson to help save it. Anderson Cooper took the easy road and demonized black women for attempting to preserve it. We’ve seen article after blog post defending it.

But, what exactly is “black love?”

Across the blogosphere and magazines we often act as if it somehow paramount to “other” intra-racial matrimony. Yet, unlike African-American women’s publications, the likes of Cosmopolitan and Latina don’t feel the need to print articles promoting “white love” or “Latin love.” In fact, neither do black men’s magazines and websites.

Why is that we feel the need to differentiate our search for love? Why do we cling to this idea of “black love” so fervently?

Imaginably, in a community that ranks highest in poverty, abortion and illegitimate births, the “black love” ideal is our fairy tale, as marriage and nuclear families are not commonplace. Little black girls are not much different from their white, Asian and Latina peers in that we, too, daydream of husbands and white picket fences. Despite internal and external efforts to desensitize black women to destructive behaviors, most of us know real love is not an in-and-out baby-daddy/boyfriend of ten years; we know it’s not chasing playboy “ballers” more concerned with the “industry” life than our hearts. So, in attempt to re-stabilize our community’s future and fulfill childhood dreams, we remain faithful to the notion of black love and are more than willing to wait, however patiently or impatiently.

But, again, what is it we are trying to obtain? And, is it really a black thing?

In my mind, black love is (and will always be) Cliff and Claire Huxtable—not for material reasons. It was great both were successful professionals, but even more noteworthy that their love transcended skin color. The Cosby Show wasn’t about a black couple and their family; it was a show about a loving couple and their children, all of whom happened to be black. Similarly, the Obamas (in real life) have managed to do the same thing. The foundation of their marriage is not blackness; it’s love and loyalty—which is essential regardless of race.

Perhaps, we should begin focusing more on the authenticity of love and, if it happens to be black, so be it.

LaShaun Williams is a Madame Noire contributor and columnist whose work has appeared in the New York Times and across several popular sites, such as HuffPost Black Voices and the Grio.  Follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun and Facebook.

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