I grew up in a house with two loving parents. My mom and Dad have been together for 26 years now and I don’t think they’ve left the honeymoon phase of their relationship yet. So I’ve never been confused about the notion of Black Love. To me, it was always a Black woman and a Black man involved in the equation. Once I got older and experienced other things, the equation expanded to involve two Black people who are in a loving, nurturing relationship. Never have I considered expanding that idea to include non-Black people. However, many people thought that Essence was doing just that by putting New Orleans Saints’ running back Reggie Bush on the cover of their Black Love Issue.
Reggie Bush’s relationship with Kim Kardashian is highly publicized and quite honestly, I could care less who he chooses to be with. The discussion that occurred on Twitter (of all places) is what interests me about this entire situation. Many Black women were confused and some were outright angry that Essence had chosen a Black man who is in an interracial relationship to cover an issue that is dedicated to Black Love. I can’t fault them for this. But the response from the Black men on Twitter was bothersome. Of course they were calling the women who complained bitter, saying that they should step outside of the idea that Black Love is so restrictive, that this is a perfect opportunity to expand the idea of Black Love even further so that it is not so exclusive.
If we continue to expand the notion of Black Love so that it includes interracial relationships, the concept begins to erode, particularly, for Black women. We are the ones who will be pushed to the margins if the concept is expanded. Men are privileged enough to tell us that we shouldn’t be so concerned about our fading presence in the Black Love equation which simultaneously pushes the idea that we aren’t qualified to be in the equation at all. Where does that leave us?
If you’re interested, here are some other bloggers speaking on the topic: