When reading about love, sex, dating and relationships online or in the mainstream media, it is seldom we find positive, helpful articles about black love. Over the last five years, black relationships have become visible in the mainstream à la ‘Love & Hip Hop,’ other celebrity-focused productions, and sitcoms — which is a great thing but — we’re more than that. We deserve more diversity, responsibility and guidance, and balance and wellness.
Weeks ago when appointed to cover the following topics for Real Black Love, I thought it was important to make my research inclusive. I asked ‘real’ people (males, females, and transpeople of different cultures and ages) to share what they’d like to read more of when it comes to black love. Some were emotional, insightful, asked questions and one guy thought he received my text in error. He disclosed that what I asked was ‘that’ rare. Some didn’t know where to begin, some shared their frustrations with me, and others have yet to reply. (You can’t win all the time.)
We felt a kaleidoscope of emotions. One response made me weep like a toddler. The responses varied amongst the abundance of people I contacted, yet there was a common thread. In my research, I found that there is a burning desire for more stories about maturity, progress, support, and stability. People want to read more success stories and have the option to idealize a black union — be it interracial, gay, or otherwise.
To love anyone else, you have to love yourself. We want to read about self-love, ego, fidelity, commitment and weight issues. Overweight people want to read love stories about other overweight people. A young professional from the Detroit area wants to know what black couples like to eat and drink when they are on a date. She wants to know what they do for recreational fun.
A man in his late 20s from Harlem wants to read about the sacrifices we make when we’re in love. He wants to understand how some couples overcome hurdles and indifferences. A young coffee shop owner in Los Angeles wants to read more about how to forgive, self-help, insecurities and how to let go of past relationships. She wants to know how to move forward without mental baggage. A young DJ from New York City wants to read more about how to minimize mistakes in relationships. A Wardrobe Stylist wants to know when is a good time to get married.
Others want sheer examples of what all black relationships look like in 2016 with the perspective on the impact of social media. Asking: Does it help or hurt the dating stages? After all, we are living in the digital age. We want to read about mental health and deception activity for nefarious purposes, otherwise known as a romance scam. LGBT people of color want developers to implement diversity in tags and orientation on dating apps. They’d like to read about those developments.
Dating and relationships often lead to sex, marriage, and parenthood. We want to know what behaviors are normal. We want to know how each sex deals with emotion. We want more sex education and ways to prevent STDs. We want to read about kinky dating experiences. We want to know how to behave when we are dating someone with kids that are not ours.
We want reports on healthy, balanced relationships with both parents present in the household. We want examples of what it is like to be a stay-at-home dad, and also what it is like to have a stay-at-home dad. We want non-judgmental open dialogue where we can learn how to parent mixed race children as interracial couples. We want to know how to care for non-black skin and hair as interracial couples. We want more information on child care and parenting.
We want to learn from our elders’ experiences when rethinking the future of dating. We think reading about the elderly would help us to prepare for senior citizenship as a couple. We want to know how black people in their 50-60s take care of themselves, and what it is like for them on the dating scene. We want to know how to deal with the loss of a husband or wife.
We have become the stories no one wants to tell. That’s about to change.
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