My Encounters with Black Love

My 11th grade English teacher once posed to me the question: what is love? Pondering on this, I realized that it is an idea so abstract, that one definition is not enough. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 claims that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”  After reading this, I asked myself how do we exhibit this? I asked myself what this looks like…have i ever experienced “love”? and I came to this conclusion-

For me, Love is Black. It is the color of my father, the traditions of my mother. It is the caressing of his melanin, the twisting of her hair, the prayers of them together. For me, love is Black. It is a line dance at every gathering, the jumping of an old broom, the sound of T-Pain.. and auto tune, a song on the car ride home. For me, love is Black. It is that though the world be against us, we are for each other. For me, love has always been Black.

They say that Black is the presence of darkness, but for us it has always been the space which welcomes light-which welcomes love. Black has been a “damn my family loves you”. It has been “what’s up nephew”.  It has been a Black woman in a white dress. It has been the deepest thoughts, the connecting of souls. For me, love has and will continue to be Black. It has been the rhythm of a heart matching the beat of a rap song. It has been Boys II Men and Brownstone. It has been Usher and Ari Lennox. Love has been a family tree full of aunties who aren’t really your kin. It has been Black, the color of my skin.  It has been a leather sandal in front of the grill. It has been an HBCU chanting “to the hill.” Love has been Black…

But Love has also been a funeral. It has been a Black body on the street and it feels like my brother… Love has been the prayers of a great grandmother. Love has been hung on a tree. It has ran away from its master…Faster…and faster kind of like a heart that beats for love. Love… has been black. Love has been a Black father in the 80s incarcerated for crack.  Love has been knowing all of the lyrics to Return of the Mac. Love for us hasn’t always been easy. It has been found in alley ways, and at alters. In slave quarters and in hoods. But Black love has always been good. There is so much strength is Black Love because there has been so much resilience in Black skin. Black love is powerful because you can feel it within. You can see it in Martin and in Gina. Black love keeps on rollin’ like Tina. Black love is “I got a thang for you” by Trina. For me, love is Black.

Love is a late night at the roller rink. It is your mother washing your hair over a kitchen sink. Love is greasing a scalp on a Sunday. Love is Black. Love is a to go box at Thanksgiving, a pair of Jordans, and dapping up your bro. Love is Pink Lotion, box braids and afros. Love is Black…and I can’t imagine it any other color.

Use the hashtag #ItalkBlacklove to share with me your encounters with Black love.

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