Illustration by Ben Biayenda- I’m a fan of his work – find him @benbiayenda & buy his art
Sometimes, it’s the most random thing that makes you reflect on something.
Yesterday, when indulging in my tv show addiction, I got frustrated watching Being Mary Jane. MJ the principal character is breaking up with her boyfriend who is white saying: “ I like Black men, I want Black love”.
Clearly, this sentence got me frustrated for many reasons: ignorance, clichés, misrepresentations.
But really, the question was in the context of the United States’s history, is there such thing as Black Love and why the representation of it is so important for some peoples?
Coincidentally, it is Black History Month in the US & the UK.
Let me be clear, in 2017, proclaiming that you will only date black men, or black women are borderline racist. I come from a black nuclear family, with two black parents that are still together but yet I could never say that I want Black love as if this is something that would be radically different if I was dating outside this pool.
Yet, the truth is that I heard this sentence so many times from so many girlfriends.
The Washington Post has created a podcast dedicated to portraying Black experiences lives. It’s called Historically Black. You can learn that slaves were sold 3 to 4 times during their lifetime. So, relationships, love stories were broken and not permitted to groom.
One interviewee explained that because “quantitative inheritance” was not transmitted, in a way the black family as a unity as a value was the immaterial inheritance for years.
That could explain also why for a generation of African American, the representation of powerful black couples in pop culture and overall in the media was important: The Cosby Show, The Obamas, Beyoncé & Jay-z etc.
I love our 21st century where we live in a (fairly quite) better world to this regard.
We can choose to transmit open-mindedness, kindness & respect through our differences.
What are your takes on that subject?
Happy Love Month and Black History Month!
Listen to the Washington Post’s Historically Black podcast here.