5 Reasons Why Black Love Is Important, Now More Than Ever

When I talk about black love, I mean more than just romantic love. I am talking about loving your own history and culture, loving the skin you’re in, love within families, love and support for your community, as well as romantic love. As African Americans, we are blessed to have a rich and dynamic culture that is defined by resilience, strength, and dignity. In a time where there is so much hate that is meant to divide us, we can choose to come together in love instead.

1.     Love for the Black Individual: Black love is essential for the good of the individual. As African Americans, we constantly have to deal with negative messages about ourselves and our people. It has gotten to a point where many black people no longer notice the perpetuation of the stereotypes and the enactment of discrimination because it has become a typical way of life. Unfortunately the stigma associated with being black has become so ingrained that many African Americans begin to believe the negative messages they are receiving about themselves and others like them. We need to bolster empowerment and efficacy in African American individuals. I am elated to be living in a time where a second “black is beautiful” movement is coming around. There are more women proudly wearing their natural hair, embracing their skin tone, and loving their bodies. I am so happy to be in the midst of this movement because I remember when being black was not celebrated the way it is now. Even 10 years ago it was much more socially acceptable to have straight hair and light skin but today the standards of beauty are changing. Although progress is being made, there are still many people who do not appreciate their black identity. There are people who hate themselves for their dark skin and the culture of their ancestors. It is painful to know that some people refuse to believe that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14) and that they come from an illustrious heritage of leaders, innovators, and trailblazers. It is important that you are proud of your culture and ethnicity because it is an extension of yourself. It is a part of who you are and it is impossible to erase it but you can embrace it. Beyond the need for us to embrace our ethnicity, we also need more self-care and personal development. It is not selfish to take care of yourself, rather it is essential. We need to stop beating ourselves up and start being nurturing and kind to ourselves. How often do you engage in self-care activities? Do you reward yourself? If you are not doing these things regularly you are most likely not being loving to yourself. You cannot truly help anyone else if you do not take care of yourself first. It is okay to do things like take time to relax, go to therapy, and enjoy yourself. In fact, it is more than okay, it is essential for your health and your sanity. Along with self-care it is important to take time to develop yourself and to learn and grow as often as you can. For instance, you could take up an instrument or learn a second language. Whatever you decide to do, try to go beyond your obligations and do something that will increase your fulfillment in life. That is what it means to truly love yourself.

2.     Love for Black Marriages: Black love is essential for the good of black marriages. Once we practice loving ourselves, then we will be able to have healthy and sustainable relationships. There are too many black women and men who settle for unhealthy relationships that only lead to heartbreak and despair. We need representations of love, commitment, and respect between black men and women. In this day and age, many people in the black community have been raised by single mothers, which has deprived many of us of an example of what a healthy relationship should look like. While we are resilient and can thrive coming from a home without both parents, we may be hindered in terms of how to navigate a healthy relationship. The only way we can expect to change the cycle of divorce and unhealthy relationships within the black community is by doing something different. Our community desperately needs black men who are willing to be respectful, honest, and committed in relationships. We also need black women who refuse to settle for less than they are worth and who will be a source of support and encouragement within their relationships. Young black men and women alike need to stop settling for casual hook-ups and instead take the time to develop substantial relationships. When we start making these types of changes, it will lead to more healthy marriages within the black community.

3.     Love for Black Families: Black love is essential for the good of black families. If we have strong black marriages they will lead to strong black families. Strong families are necessary for a functioning and thriving society. In the midst of a society that contains so many estranged families, it is necessary for African Americans to ensure that our families remain intact. Our community needs more mothers, fathers, and siblings who support each other out of love and respect. Love within black families is particularly important for our future society. The children of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. It is important that their families teach them about their culture and show them what true love really means. The children who grow up in loving families will have better chances of becoming productive members of society and they will be able to create a better society in the future.

4.     Love for the Black Community: Black love is essential for the good of the black community. We need to increase unity and collaboration within our communities. Having strong black families will make it easier to develop a strong black community. The love and support that is fostered within the home will carry over into the community for the good of everyone. For example, daycare, mentorship, and early childhood education can all be provided for free within a community that works together. We could create spaces where we can freely express our cultural values and reflect on our heritage. A strong black community would also include black owned businesses that sell products that serve our community. The flourishing businesses would allow the owners to give back to the community out of the desire to see their people thrive. This would create an economic system that keeps our money in our communities, which would serve the interests of the people in the community. All of these things would help us become united as a collaborative community.

5.     Love for the Culture: Black love is essential for the good of our culture. When we start loving ourselves we will no longer need the approval of others to feel valid or worthy. With strong communities, we will have more money and influence that will allow us to dictate our schooling, housing, entertainment, food, etc. without being subject to the will of people who do not always have our best interest at heart. Throughout history, black people have had to compromise their culture for the sake of approval, advancement, and/or for their safety. It is a shame that we have to “code switch” in order to appease people who do not understand us. When we build up our communities we will not need to bend to the rules of the “dominant culture” because we can make our own rules. When we get to that level of power and influence, as a people, that provides freedom. The freedom to be yourself fully, without apology. The freedom to know that you can embrace your culture and still advance in your chosen career. The freedom to know that you can love our culture without feeling the need to defend that decision. Our people have been disenfranchised for way too long. It is time that we develop a vested interest in uplifting our communities so that we can preserve our culture.

These ideas may seem farfetched but they are not impossible to achieve. If we start a black love movement where people are able to love themselves, show love to others, and foster love within communities, it could have an amazing impact. While it may take some time before we see a societal shift, we can work to make many of these changes today. It all starts with you!

Action Steps: Think about how you embody black love in your life. Are you committed to perpetuating black love in all of these domains? If so, make a commitment to actively work to promote these areas of black love in your life.

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