Aug 16, 2012

A while back either Ebony or Essence in their "black love" issue included Chad Johnson and Evelyn Lozado in their profile of black celebrity couples.  I remember being surprised that they were on the list because I didn't think that anyone really took them seriously as a couple.  I also remember thinking that maybe this couple just might prove people wrong.  Maybe the editors were like alot of people hoping for the best but expecting the worst.  Perhaps not expecting the worst, but not surprised should the worst ever present itself.  Personally, I resigned my opinion to, "Grown folks can do what they want to do."  That's the best I can come up with when I am trying ro remain positive.  I'm not a big fan of gossip and dogging people.  I am definitely not a fan of I told you so.

Well I think I have found a nice contrast to the Evelyn/Chad drama...the Obamas.  The President and First Lady can easily be the face of black love.  Not just black love, but love period.  We probably have all heard by now about their recent experience on kiss cam. But the first 16:30 minutes of their recent campaign stop together in Iowa is something that we just do not see all that often.

We typically see depicted alot of romance, heroic love (being rescued), sacrifice (one person giving up something significant to be with the other) and the perserverance of love (going through the hard times).  We also see the process of being awakened to love.  Lord knows we see many examples of the eroticism of love.  What we rarely see are the kind words, the mutual respect, the admiration, the friendship, the deference and the genuine yet simple affection.  Many times I look at couples and think "yeah they love each other but do they like each other?"  I see that very clearly with the Obamas.  I wholeheartedly believe it exists on a larger scale but we do not have many images depicted of that even across racial and ethnic lines.  I was trying to recall "majority" love stories, chick flicks and popular tv shows but I really cannot think of any story that did not fall into the typical categories that I mentioned.  Granted these are stories for our entertainment so they must be more dramatic to hold our attention.  But perhaps the love  storylines are not as wide ranging as we think they are for everyone. 

So are there cultural differences when it comes to love?  Is there something unique about what the Obamas have?  Is there something unique to black love?  A few months ago I would have answered by saying love is love.  After sitting in on a session with Dr. Katrina Bell McDonald, sociologist, teaching at Johns Hopkins University, I might just answer a little differently now.  She was sharing a summary of her latest research on egalitarianism in relationships.  She interviewed a number of married couples across racial, ethnic, and religious lines.  One notable, incidental observation of the younger African American couples was their verbal affection for one another.  It was just an observation and perhaps an implication for future research; nothing that she had anticipated.  They consistently referred to one another as their boo, my baby, my queen...She didn't notice that with the other couples.  So that made me wonder if there was in fact some uniqueness to black love.  Whether or not researchers find an answer to that question, when it comes to black love,  I just know I like what I see when I see it.
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