It’s that time of the year, y’all! The month of love. February is our time to celebrate Black History, Black Love Day (February 13th), and Valentine’s Day (February 14th).
Depending on who you ask, Valentine’s Day conjures up a host of disparate emotions that run the gamut from hate to glee over all things love, chocolate, roses, and red-white-and-pink-coated candy treats. I still have fond memories connected to Valentine’s Day from elementary school — from all the heart-themed art projects we made to (and most importantly) the sweet treats and valentine cards I got from classmates and secret crushes. Sure, giving and receiving the little cards was obligatory, but I didn’t care as long as they showed me where the candy resides! I was and still am a sucker for those Sweethearts candies, Nerds, and Blow-Pops.
As I’ve gotten older, and as someone who has never had a valentine, the thrill of the holiday has waned a bit, but not in the ways you might imagine. For me, the thrill did not calcify into bitterness or cynicism. Instead, I was met with a persistent curiosity and bemusement over the enigma that is my relationship status as a lifelong single. This reality is something that my younger self would have thought unbearable. Presently, my older self can say that even though it’s not ideal, I have been blessed with an abundance of love in its various forms. And I love to bear witness to love in the lives of others — strangers and friends alike.
In fact, I remember about seven years ago, I saw a Hallmark commercial for their Valentine’s Day campaign entitled, “Put Your Heart to Paper.” It focused on seven couples who were challenged to “go beyond ‘I love you.’” The couples were secluded and asked to express what their significant other meant to them without uttering those three words. Then each couple was brought back together, and they watched the videos of their responses to see what each partner had to say about the other.
One of the couples featured in the campaign was Hiram and Felicita, a Black couple who — at the time — had been married for fifteen years. To this day, I get chills and tears well up in my eyes when I watch it because it’s still so rare to see Black love depicted in the media. When it is, it’s “struggle love” that’s on display, full of dysfunction and toxicity. Void of the love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
In Hiram and Felicita’s Black love story, that First-Corinthians-13 love was evident and reminded me of my parents’ rich and deep Black love. In a world where there is a deliberate attempt to put a chasm between Black men and Black women through various means, I can’t help but rejoice at the triumph of Black love, for it truly is a revolutionary act.
Although I have not yet been blessed to experience love within a romantic relationship, I have always had a soul-deep admiration for love and have been a proponent of Black Love specifically. Perhaps this is why so many within our community were moved at the finale of Insecure. Undoubtedly, Molly’s marriage to Taurean was a sight to behold, as it reflects to us sistas that we too can have it all: the husband, the job, and solid friendships. Ultimately, why we found so much resonance in that finale was the true Black love story being told all along: the love between Issa and Molly. Black sisterhood is undefeated and is one of the most beautiful manifestations of Black love. (May we never miss this forest for the trees.)
Regardless of whether God grants me the blessed honor of experiencing Black love within the covenant of marriage, I’m exceedingly grateful for the Black love I have between my sisters, dear friends who are like sisters, my nieces, parents, family, and in countless other ways. They are still worthy of praise and adoration. May we all marvel and behold the miracle of Black love.
What feelings come up for you when you think about the various manifestations of Black love in your life?