“Why couldn’t you find yourself a nice Black girl to settle down with?”
— an older Black woman who I’d met on the streetcar
Frankly, I couldn’t believe I still heard this in 2017 in Toronto of all places, but there it was without a hint of sarcasm in the air. The idea’s plagued our community for ages—that it’s audacious to look outside our race for love with plenty of eligible candidates in our ranks.
But the truth isn’t so simple.
Love isn’t easy to decipher, and I question whether interracial coupling is as dangerous as we make it out to be. I often hear the same arguments:
- It’s DESTROYING our CULTURE! But no culture’s ever going to thrive if it can’t withstand change. We aren’t who we were in the context of our homelands before Canada—it’s up to us to define what our lives look like here and how we coexist/integrate with people who don’t look like we do.
- The blacker the berry, the sweeter the fruit—we need to keep our people as pure as possible. Our world isn’t perfect, and though those in the majority once stood as our slavers and oppressors, we need not necessarily punish them today for the sins of their ancestors. Interracial relationships are slowly on the rise as we learn to overcome these barriers, and just because the next generation might look a little different, it doesn’t mean we need to treat them any differently than we do our own. What we need to update is our thinking—the very idea of what Modern Black Love means to us.
These thoughts in mind, I have a couple of contributors I’d like to introduce you to with their views on modern love—Andrée Nicole, who speaks on the promise of what Black love can offer, and Anthea Ryan, whose experiences fall on the spectrum’s other end.
I hope you enjoy these insights, and I look forward to seeing you in the next entry from Live from the 3.5!
Rivers Lead to the Sea
by Andrée Nicole
At some point in a couple’s relationship, they will entertain the thought of what that possibility of the end may look like for them and their relationship. Just as how all rivers empty all their contents, couples also have to empty their contents. And despite what many couples may feel, they must know that they can endure and weather the emotional, physical, financial, or even spiritual flow of life as it relates to their relationship. What’s rather fascinating is that the sea does not overflow nor has it been recorded or been told to have ever flooded. Rivers continue to keep flowing into the sea.
It’s not in the sea’s control, yet the sea has been known to survive rather well.
In a couple’s relationship, problems will always exist and steadily enter into their lives. However, couples still survive because many can cope with their problems just as the ocean does. Couples continuously tread in those waters, yet somehow, they remain as an ocean. When a river cuts through rocks, it does not happen because of its power. This happens because of its persistence.
A couple’s relationship is very much the same as a river, for the lows of a couple’s relationship does precisely that—it cuts through the obstacles and the debris and does so naturally. No matter what, the couple continues to flow toward that ocean, sea, lake, or another river, and it remains as such.
A couple’s relationship is nothing more than channels or conduits to places where the refreshment of water is needed. Your relationship is very symbolic to all rivers, and because of the unique relationship your relationship carries, it, too, will also require a source to become refreshed, restored, and renewed.
The trials and tribulations associated with what couples may encounter are not because of their power but because of their persistence to be the best that they can be, to seek the tools and tips required to be that victorious couple.
When couples choose to develop a friendship and partnership and allow everything within that relationship to flow effortlessly, that is when a couple’s passion and drive to further their relationship deepens, develops, and truly becomes their only focal point! There will be times when couples will follow each other because that is exactly what they had signed up for when this role was established. The two of you entered into this relationship with each other; therefore, whether it is liked or not, a couple will continue to be each other’s river.
As a couple, you will do the running for each other, just as a river does. Couples will also learn how to move each other’s mountains to keep their relationship floating because there is nothing more beautiful than when your significant other is right there by your side.
Couples will learn to appreciate, whether their dialogue has became silenced by trauma or perhaps even lost during their relationship, that in more ways than one, they have become each other’s comforter. And therefore, each person has been the other’s river that was led to the sea.
A Victorious Secret for the Day
Today we will remember that rivers lead to the sea.
Andrée means strength, and Nicole means victory of the people. She is known to many as a Thought Leader on Education, and has 18 years of teaching experience coupled with a BA Honours, BEd from York University, and a Masters in Education specializing in the area of Curriculum Social Justice & Cultural Studies from the University of Toronto.
Andrée Nicole is best known for addressing issues pertaining to The Unspoken Dialogue, and using it as a platform of empowerment to empower women, couples in the communities, and the youth within the various District School Boards.
I have always been in love with the notion of Black love. Unfortunately growing up the only reference I had to Black love was in the form of TV entertainment. I had no real life, successful black couples that I could look to as an example of Black love. For me, Black love was the Huxtable family on the Cosby show. It was odd to see a black couple that was not only successful in their careers and financially secure but wonderful parents and in love with each other as well. They were somewhat of a phenomenon. I viewed them as the ideal family and one I wanted to emulate. That ideal stayed with me as a young woman, and I used it as a template for how I wanted my Black love experience to look like.
My Black love experiences are a far cry from the Huxtable family. They have been downright abysmal. I have only had two real experiences, and both ended in heartache.
At the age of 24 years old I married a man that I shouldn’t have. I had doubts while standing on the altar, but I wanted that ideal black love. I hoped and believed that I would beat the odds and be one of the few black couples that would stand the test of time and would last a lifetime, even if it killed me. It didn’t kill me, but I was so hurt, miserable and depressed in that marriage that I often thought about killing myself.
I stayed in a marriage where I was like my husband’s mother. He did nothing in the home and in the relationship. I cooked, cleaned, worked full time, took care of the children on my own, paid all the bills and handled all the finances. His only responsibility was to go work. He went out with his friends when he wanted and did nothing with the children and I. My ex-husband was also cheating on me with several women. I was willing to forgive him and try to work on the relationship because I wanted a home where both the mother and father were together, even if I was unhappy. I was willing to give all of myself and receive nothing in return to keep my “black love” though I was neither in love or receiving it.
Near the end of my miserable marriage, I felt like my only two options of getting out if the situation were divorce or suicide. I chose the former of the two options. I told him to leave. He didn’t want to. He wanted us to continue living in separate quarters of the home and live independent lives which was understandable. Who wouldn’t want someone to take care of their every need and not have to lift a finger? I couldn’t continue on the way we were. For once in the marriage, I put myself first and ironically by putting myself first I decided to end the marriage—the best decision I made for myself and my children.
After the demise of my marriage, I did not think that I’d fall in love again anytime soon. I did not go out “looking for love”, but love found me. My second and most recent black love experience was with a man that I grew up with. He reached out to me on social media, we reconnected and had a whirlwind romance. I put my heart and soul into the relationship.
He was the complete opposite of my ex-husband. I did not have to “take care” of him; he was independent, affectionate, romantic and financially stable. I thought I found my “unicorn”. We seemed perfect together. Complemented each other. We laughed, danced and talked for hours every day. We went on trips, he became a stepfather to my children, we looked at houses, made preliminary wedding plans, and we started planning our future together. The relationship ended abruptly when I found out that the man I was head over heels in love with was married.
It’s been almost two months now since I found out. The “sting” of this revelation has now dulled somewhat, but I still find myself bursting into tears several times a day. I cry not only because of the abrupt loss of this man from my life but the deceit as well. Because I believed that this last relationship was “the one”, that he was going to be my black love story. I cry because the thought that I may never attain the black love that I desire crosses my mind every day.
I am forever changed by these two relationships. My hope in finding love has dwindled, and my ability to trust another man is non-existent, but I still believe in the notion of black love. That we as black men and women can have healthy, loving and long-term relationships with one another and that if we see said relationship, whether in real life or on television, it is not viewed as an extraordinary occurrence.
I understand that the Cosby show was just that, a show. I guess in my marriage I was putting on a show and in my last relationship he was putting on a show with me as the unaware leading lady. It seems that without many references of successful black couples to go to for wisdom and guidance, we just go with what we know, which is usually from television. We “fake it till we make it”, and sadly many black couples don’t make it.
Thanks and ’til the next,
— case p.