With each new generation I grow more somber about the state of black love and families. I see how media, prison and drugs are turning black men and women against each other. And with the absence of any kind of models to emulate, how can we begin to restore social order in black communities?
Imprinted in my mind are pictures of my late maternal grandparents standing next to each other smiling at different family functions. I remember sharing early morning cups of coffee with them as they traded sections of the morning paper.
As a young boy, they often took me wherever they went. I got to see them endure the trials of marriage with commitment, pain, frustration and love. No matter what happened, they always seemed to just find a common ground.
To me, they were the epitome of black love amid the circumstances in which they were both raised.
Both were children of sharecroppers, both had very little education, and my grandmother had children from a previous marriage. But with all of that, they were able to buy a home in Austin that served as a haven for three generations.
Where is that kind of love?
Maury Povich prospers off of young parents — not all black — but that’s who I am referring to. Paternity tests and lie detectors tell just how torn we are as people. Rap videos promote promiscuity and bisexuality. Bodies are seen as commodities sans soul or emotions. They personify the Jay Z song “On to The Next One.” I hear the word “bitch” being tossed around as if it were surfers saying “Dude!”
Just recently, I found myself caught up in a thread in two social media sites that debated if men or women were better cheaters. The threads went back and forth seemingly saying the same thing, and I wanted people to forget who is better but look at the underlying causes and effects.
Is this the new social norm?
Gone are the movies of the late 1990s and the early 2000s like Love Jones, Love and Basketball, Brown Sugar and Soul Food; movies that somehow made you want to fantasize about black love. We got to see average people go on emotional roller coasters without stereotypes.
I said in a column before that we need more positive images in our communities, but we also need better mainstream movies that do not depict us as gangsters, whores or pimps. We need to see everyday people experiencing the joys and trials of real-life relationships.
It seems as if the possibility of love for black couples is a fleeting thought, a glimmer of what was, something we talk about as we reflect on our elders.
And in honor of all I have written, I may just make it a movie night on Valentine’s Day and watch some of the aforementioned movies.