Pop Culture, Race & Politics

So What Exactly Is “Black Love”?

Yesterday I wrote a post about Barack and Michelle and their love shining bright. They let their souls glo…and shine through. It’s a beautiful thing.

Well in the course of writing that post, I mentioned the term “Black love” quite a few times and began to ask myself what that actually meant. Now, for the purposes of most conversations in the community, saying Black love usually doesn’t require a definition. It’s like pr0n, it might be hard to define but folks know it when they see it. There’s never really been a need to place any boundaries or limits on the term. Conversely, I don’t think most of us really think about how deep the idea is in and of itself.

The concept of Black anything has always been an interesting. I’m no expert on any other culture and I’m sure I’ll be corrected on this, but Blackness is one of the few areas of most of us colored lives that gets questioned constantly. Not being Black enough is a real shot at somebody’s character. And it usually means that you’re attempting to be white. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If that’s who you are then that’s who you are. But nobody every says, you’re being too Latino or Chinese to a Black person. Naw, you’re just not Black enough. Does that happen to Latinos, Asians, etc? Are super proper speaking Asian kids sellouts? I doubt it.

Point is, Blackness is complicated and always will be. So the concept of Black love can’t be simple right?

If two Black people are dating or married and in love, does that, by default constitute Black love? Is seeing a woman pick up her son and give him a kiss on the cheek…is that Black love? Or two good friends doing the Black man handshake-hug combo that I’ve seen so many other ethnicities f*ck up with tremendous aplomb.

Seriously, why is that sh*t so difficult. I’m not saying that we, The Blacks, are just more dexterous and athletic than everybody else, but we definitely have coordination on lock. You know what, we’re more athletic too. It takes a real athlete to do some of these handshakes we do. In high school, me and two of my best friends had a 15-step handshake. It was as ridiculous as it sounds. I promise.

Is that Black love? I mean the dedication and loyalty we exacted in order to efficiently bust out that handshake? We were committed to one another because who the hell else would we be able to do that? That’s got to be it right?

In truth, I think the entire concept of Black love is just that…a concept. Its those horrendously cliche ass pictures that you see being sold in mall kiosks with some naked, rippled Black man holding some naked nubian black woman with their bodies intertwined. While I’d never ever put that type of picture up in my house – my tastes are a bit more discerning than that – I get why they exist. Black love is the ideal of unity and togetherness. It’s this ideal of strength shared between two people attempting to reach a common goal…

…which would explain why we care so much about the idea since, community wise, we have some serious issues with each one of those principles. That explains why seeing Barack and Michelle is an example because they look like they represent all of those things as a unit.

Hell, they’re a unit. My guess is that other ethnicities don’t necessarily dwell on the ideal because they don’t have to. Clearly those goals exist in other communities and are the bedrock for a long-lasting relationship, but for some reason, I do think we place more of a premium on those things in the Black community likely because of our shared history. We may not be monolithic but that history of ours can’t stop and won’t stop. Then again they said that about Rocafella Records and you see how that turned out.

There’s something about Mary…but Blackness has certain complex simplicity about it. No Teedra. That’s why we throw Black in front of so many things. Black power, Black love, Black box…was a good group, Black music, Black black. I’m not completely sure what they all mean but they all mean something. And it’s something that nearly all Black folks, even those of us who spurn most things of the diaspora, can acknowledge and accept.

But I ask of you, folks who love to wax poetic and philosophical, what exactly is Black love? Is there a definition or perfect example or do you just know it when you see it? And if you’re white or other…what do you think? Let’s talk shop.

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. BLACK aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

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Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • Malik

    Black love is when you’re smanging and it sounds like your making mac n cheese.

    • Cheekie

      *dies*

    • Iceprincess2

      BOL!

    • Toria

      Naw baby thats just great d!ck… wait… that is black love. carry on. ;)

      • Sweet GA Brown

        Black love is great peen?? Hmmm that explains everything. Barack does give Michelle that “Its going down” look all the time.

    • That Ugly Kid

      So what is it called when you’re smanging and it sounds like kids splashing around in a swimming pool?

      • Royale W. Cheese

        Water sports. #rkelly

        • Camilleblu

          *extra dead*

      • chameleonic

        is it bad i literally made a face of disgust and struggled to laugh because i find it excessively depressing that actually is the definition of love for most black people? im almost disgusted but i accidentally chuckled.

      • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

        The immediate imagery that came to mind is, a pomegranate hole that is not tight and is wide as hell, hence the slosh, slosh, slosh….advance apologies for my pervertedness. God bless us womenz. coz out of that hole comes life. Can I get an Amen!

        • chameleonic

          noo, i actually think the splashy sound comes from self lubrication. the presence of juice and friction. i think a wide vagina sounds more like when you push your hand into a glass.

      • Sweet GA Brown

        Splash waterfalls -Luda

      • Sweetsass

        BOL @ this whole convo.

    • Chocolatte

      ____________________flatline_____________________

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I’m sure Champ would appreciate that definition.

    • Pseudonym

      So gross. Yet so true.

      Macaroni and cheese has been changed for me forever.

  • Royale W. Cheese

    “In truth, I think the entire concept of Black love is just that…a concept. Its those horrendously cliche ass pictures that you see being sold in mall kiosks with some naked, rippled Black man holding some naked nubian black woman with their bodies intertwined.”
    .
    Those prints are the cheez whiz and moscato of the art world. My mom suggested that I paint those to make money. Bless her heart. Any who, the first image that comes to mind when I think of “black love” is James and Florida Evans. Cultural experiences that often get labeled as “Black” have a characteristic of joy in the midst of struggle and sadness, so I guess I think of black love in that way.

    • Todd

      That sounds like it works for me. Survival in the struggle sounds like the truth.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      Let me tell you, we all know or have family with those prints in their homes, but i hate them. I appreciate what they stand for, but never ever would one of those pieces of “art” be up in my home.

      • chameleonic

        the black art that looks like chicago jazz, zoot suit era is kinda nice. certain color blends. but it has to be done so that it isnt the centerpiece of a room but it evokes an atmosphere. but art is kinda visual. its just this look like you know youll never see another like it. i like my art one of a kind.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          well that is actual art. i’m talking about the naked black man/woman portraits in various positions of black love intended to evoke black love.

  • Tx10inch

    Forget black love. After all I’ve been through, I’m starting to believe true love doesn’t exist.

    • Iceprincess2

      *E-hugs Tx10*

      • Tx10inch

        Thanx. It’s been a while. Don’t hug too tight.

        • Iceprincess2

          Nah, I’m gonna hug u extra tight so my boobs push all up on you! I’m that kind of friend :-)

          • Camilleblu

            Lol!

          • Asiyah

            LOL you so cute Icey

    • Royale W. Cheese

      If you’ve been hurt by a romantic interest, you’ve probably been in love. In that case it exists and you have witnessed it.

      • That Ugly Kid

        Eh, being hurt by a romantic interest doesn’t mean you experienced love. For example, this chick named Lennay Kekua dumped me to go be with some star athlete. Ole gold diggin’ azz. It hurt when she left, but I got over it. I didn’t love her. Her body was bananas so I was more upset that I didn’t hit it…

        • Iceprincess2

          *Boob-hugs TUK*

          • That Ugly Kid

            *grabs handfuls of azz whilst hugging*

            Thanks. I needed this.

            • Iceprincess2

              Lol! You so fulla sh*t ;-)

              • That Ugly Kid

                Maybe. But I notice you didn’t stop me, so….where do we go from here? Do I take you Chuck E. Cheese now, or what? Cuz it’s obvious you want the e-peen. No virus.

                • Sweet GA Brown

                  BOL

                • Iceprincess2

                  You wish :-)

                  • Iceprincess2

                    Gurl, I kno u want dis diiii *kendrick Lamar voice*

        • Royale W. Cheese

          Missing out on booty doesn’t sound like real pain. That’s some three year old getting denied a McDonald’s happy meal level stuff.

          • That Ugly Kid

            Lol, I see you didn’t catch what I did here. Google Lennay Kekua…

            • Royale W. Cheese

              Oh, yeah, I completely missed that. #fail Well, I can introduce you to this chick named Siri who’s a great conversationalist…

        • Todd

          ROTFLMAO! That’s HI-larious!

    • nillalatte

      Awww. boo boo… love is real. Open your heart and expose yourself… huh… your heart that is! :D

    • YeahSo

      I don’t believe you… Do people really believe true love doesn’t exist? Like with all the examples of it being attainable (Michelle and Barack, Jay and Bey, Grant and Tamia, Denzel and Paula, Will and Jada?) how do people think it doesn’t exist… Now if you said you believe YOU’LL never find it then ok… ijs

      • Sweetsass

        That is a more sad reality. That it exists, but you’ll never have it.

        • YeahSo

          Is it sadder? I disagree, more pathetic yes… sorry the violin section is out rehearsing with Beyonce. If you choose to believe you can’t have it (or it doesn’t exist) and stop looking… that’s yo biz and I don’t feel sorry for you. Choices boo and what a man speaketh sho shall it be.

          • YeahSo

            Aye for the next VSB site update I propose an “edit/delete” button…

            Thanks!
            -management

            • Iceprincess2

              Nope, we’re not getting any other changes till we get the time stamp back!! *hides your request at the bottom of the pile*

              • YeahSo

                Ice I’m sure they can do both at the same d@mn time.

                • Iceprincess2

                  Girl, they act like they can’t do anything! Lol

                  • Kema

                    Message!

        • YeahSo

          Is it sadder? I disagree, more pathetic yes… sorry the violin section is out rehearsing with Beyonce. If you choose to believe you can’t have it (or it doesn’t exist) and stop looking… that’s yo biz and I don’t feel sorry for you. Choices boo and what a man speaketh so shall it be.

    • Asiyah

      Awwww Tx10inch! I’m not Black but I’ll give you some e-love. *hugs tightly*

  • Cheekie

    I can’t quite define what Black love is, but I know what you and I have Panama: Black hate. And it’s beautiful.

    • Perverted Alchemist

      Now if I would have said this…

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        what exactly do you think would have happened had you said that?

        • Perverted Alchemist

          A sh*tstorm of epic proportions, LOL!

          • Sweetsass

            Cheekie is cute. She has a pass.

            • Cheekie

              #CutePoints

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      You are an evil minion of vile evile.

      • Cheekie

        I know… ain’t it beautiful??? *swoon*

  • That Ugly Kid

    Being able to take a long hot shower while your significant other takes a sh*t, with the humidity and the stank mixing to form a hot, suffocating cloud of uber-stankness, if you can withstand this, be okay with it, and not let it taint you perception of that person, that’s Black Love. It has to be.

    • Iceprincess2

      Eeeeewwww!!!!

    • nillalatte

      Umm… yeah…. no. That ain’t love. That is def hate. Stop being a hater! — and get a second toilet! Yuck. lol

    • msdebbs

      as nasty as that is my folks do it all the time….I guess they really love each other.

    • chameleonic

      na, you have to start sh*tting about the same time i start showering because then you dont really notice. the bathroom doesnt stink WHILE youre pooping it stinks when you have to walk into it after the fact. i think if i was showering for the whole poop and not like, i walked in while he was pooing, it probably wouldnt be too bad.

    • chameleonic

      but if you can brush your teeth and im on the toilet and it smells, thats love.

    • Perverted Alchemist

      Dookey Love! Dookey Love! *in Luther Campbell’s voice*

    • Muze

      i will never ever have Black Love then. i’m doomed.

    • YeahSo

      Seriously TUK? Like did we really need THAT explanation shared? smh.

      • That Ugly Kid

        The truth stinks.

        • YeahSo

          -_-

  • Toria

    I’m white. To me Black love is something you know when you see it, but thats true of llove between anybody. I think you’re right in saying it is just a concept because the phrase evokes a shared bond– the way both parties identify themselves shapes the way they identify themselves as a couple. And the way they are perceived by other people.

    My question is would we view the Obamas any differently if specifically referred to himself as interracial? Would that make their relationship any less fascinating? I don’t think it would, but I’m just thinking out loud.

    • Iceprincess2

      Good point. Why couldn’t he be known a the first biracial POTUS? The mixed kids need something to look up too also. I think in this country it still goes back to the rules from slavery- one drop, your black! Smh

      • Reason

        But that’s because he (Barack Obama) chose to be known as black. On the last U.S. Census he marked himself solely “black” despite the fact that he could’ve checked multiple boxes in addition to black and/or wrote in his specific heritage. I remember watching a talk show discussing biracial people and how they classify themselves and the studio audience was unaminous that bi/multiracial people should classify themselves as such and one dissenter, a biracial girl, astutely pointed out how those who were adamant about bi/multiracial-ness were just as controlling as one-drop rule absolutists. My rule of thumb: I let people tell me who they are. I accept and respect Tiger Woods as a “Caublasian” as surely as I respect and accept Barack Obama as a black man. The idea that high profile bi/multiracial people’s specific makeup will be lost to history is silly. All children should do research on public figures they look up to. That’s how you find out that both Frederick Douglass and Bob Marley had white fathers. Halle Berry, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Misty Copeland have white mothers.

        • Toria

          That’s what I’m saying– he refers to himself as black because that’s what he feels fits him, but would it be different if he didn’t?

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            I think that if he went out of his way to say he wasn’t Black but bi-racial, yes, it would affect how he was viewed. But I also doubt he’d be married to Michelle cuz I can’t see her going for that.

        • Chocolatte

          Tiga didn’t want to associate too much with his “black” side, but we see “folks” have let him know, one drop, one mishap and you gets the full fledge “black” treatment.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        Eh, I do the same thing. If I were in the white house you better believe I’d be a Black president. Choosing to be biracial when folks have viewed me as Black my whole life would be attempting to be on some kumbaya all is well new society stuff and I dont buy that. If I’m Black to the cops, then I’m Black when I’m their boss.

        • Wild Cougar

          I’ve had a couple of white people ask me why Obama chose top be black in a way that seemed like they were offended. Struck me as odd since I’ve never heard themtry to lay claim to half of any other biracial person. A white guy actually had the nerve to write a book concluding it was a political decision since he was in Chicago. I don’t really get why some white folks have a problem with someone choosing to be black. We are after all a fabulous people. Why wouldn’t someone choose to be black, given the choice.

          • esa

            i heard this too. it creeped me out. the ultimate statement of white privilege is cherry picking bi-racial people to reap the glory of someone else’s success.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            Well,I don’t even understand how the entire issue comes up since most people don’t know biracial people are biracial – let’s say the men anyway – unless you ask. Nobody knows I’m mixed til I tell them. Probably cuz I’m bald. But it’s been like that since I was young. When folks found out i hate a white mother peopel were surprised, but the only people who ever took issue with me not being “more bi-racial” in terms of my persona were a few mixed chicks and my mother. I did get into a full out argument with one mixed chick about why i claimed to be black even though i will tell you im mixed. It just rarely comes up for me.
            -
            It is curious that white folks would be upset that a mixed kid who they’d happily consider Black under any circumstances is cheating himself only when’s got status.

            • Sweetsass

              While you have some typical West African facial features/structure… your skintone is too light to lay claim to 100% Black African roots.

              But American ‘blackness’ is much more than skin tone or linege. It is cultural. It is an ethnicity.

              • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

                right…i could easily just be lightskinned. obviously the majority of us Black americans have white in us somewhere, and not very far. But I mean that my mother was directly white. I know two women who are lighter than I am and both of their parents are Black. with little mixing in the near generations.

            • MPM210

              It’s interesting you mentioned that your mother took issue with it. Was your mother black? Either way, was she upset that you choose to identify as black instead of mixed?

              • Iceprincess2

                His mom is white. It prolly hurt her feelings a lil, cuz, ya kno, she birthed him and all. I don’t kno her; I’m just speaking as a white mother of a mixed son myself.

                • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

                  that’s exactly it. she felt i was too discriminatory and while i wasnt going out of my way to be Black, i definitely wasn’t making any attempts to white. that spurred SO many arguments about how i could be more white to appeas her.

                  turns out thats a difficult question.

    • nillalatte

      “I’m white.”

      You, me and Ice makes 3. Has VSB reached it’s quota yet? :D

      • Iceprincess2

        VSB White Girl Mafia in da building!!

        • nillalatte

          LOL… Now we def need THAT on a hoodie! Notice I said HOODIE. :D

          • Iceprincess2

            Nah, the uniform is a dress, stilettos, jewels, and shades. Call us “panama’s angels” lmfaoooo

            • Asiyah

              LOL I love this. You white girls are looking cute!

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

              I like it. I need angels.

            • Toria

              I’m down lolololol

            • nillalatte

              Okay, but I still want my hoodie. cause I get cold in my fukm dress. I can ice my hoodie and keeps my thugness in tact. LMAO………..

        • Tx10inch

          IP White? Wait, whaat?

          • Iceprincess2

            Yea, you late as hell. I “came out” on here a long time ago. What, you don’t wanna be my e-boo no more? Racist!! ;-)

            • Val

              Lol@”Yea, you late as hell.”

            • Tx10inch

              Oooh, so THAT’s why u was shuck & jivin me on a profile pic on here a few weeks ago!!! And for your info i enjoy all flavas. The only racist here is when i race to taste the rainbow. Skittles.

              • Iceprincess2

                Dude, I’m beautiful, promise. Because of my past, I’m just super camera shy. For a long time, if I was getting my pic taken, it was for a mugshot! Lol #MARLO

                • Perverted Alchemist

                  “Dude, I’m beautiful, promise.”
                  Once again…pics or it’s bullsh*t…

                  • Bunni

                    CATFISHHHHHHHHH….Her name is Earl, if MTV is an accurate representation of the internets.

                    • Perverted Alchemist

                      Damn, LOL! That show has everyone on guard!

            • T.Q. Fuego

              Flatlined @ “came out” lmao!

          • That Ugly Kid

            Yea….I thought she was latina. Or hopefully Brazilian wit a big ole stupid booty. I knew she wasn’t Black though.

        • Todd

          Hey, I started the VSB sub-clique thing with #VSBLibertarians. You owe me royalties, beyotch! LOL

      • Perverted Alchemist

        Todd? I’m kidding Todd, LMAO!!!

        On a serious note, thanks for hipping me to that new Sadat X, man. It would have been nice if he had physical copies available though.

        • Todd

          You’re welcome. :)

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            Did you just give another grown man a smiley face?

            • T.Q. Fuego

              Bwhahahhahahaha! Maaaaan, I wonder if Panama even considered lettin him slide lmao!

      • Brother Mouzone

        ICE PRINCESS IS WHITE??!! Well, shut the front door!!! Didn’t know that..lol

    • Juss Ayin

      if you’re white you don’t really need to take part in defining black anything

      • Iceprincess2

        Chill out.

    • Yonnie

      If Obama self-identified as biracial and corrected people when they referred to him as Black… a lot more people may have voted for Hillary. IJS. And yes, their relationship would be looked upon favorably, but not to the extent that it is now.

  • Iceprincess2

    I can’t speak on “black love” per say, but I’m proud to rep #TEAMSWIRLLOVE all day erry day! :-)

    • Asiyah

      lol!

  • iamnotakata

    Black Love = Barack & Michelle Obama
    Pretend Black Love = Jay- z & Beyonce
    Ghetto Black Love = Chrissy & Jim Jones
    that’s all…..

    • Iceprincess2

      Rediculous black love= shawty lo and… Oh, nevermind!

    • Charcoal Burnt Brother Lover

      People of God, does Jim Jones shower? He looks like he smells like a can of expired tuna, smelly feet, and swine.

      • AJ

        He does shower, and it is a glorious thing to behold. Google “Jim Jones Shower”.

    • kidsister

      OH MY GRACIOUS! Please don’t speak of Hov and B in that manner.

      • Perverted Alchemist

        That wasn’t a marriage, it was a business arrangement. You know it’s true…
        *Throws the Roc-A-Fella diamond in the sky*

    • YeahSo

      Why Jay and Bey gotta be pretending and not Michelle and POTUS? What more do we know about one relationship than we do the other to come to that conclusion?

      • T.Q. Fuego

        You’re late YeahSo, ppl expressed their uncertainty about them too yesterday. (Granted they were in the minority and got lightweight chastised for it)

        • YeahSo

          Well thanks for the update *eye roll*… I actually don’t think either is faking tho… both couples love each other in my eyes… I just want to know what she sees in one that she doesn’t the other… ugh call me late pssssh!

  • Camilleblu

    Hmmm…Black love….I feel like there is this perception that every other race and culture easily experiences love between their partners. When I think of Black love…I’m usually thinking of it when I see two people that are sharing some moment, some understanding between them that just lets you know that they are in it for the long haul. It could be a nickname that one calls the other. It could be some gesture, some phrase, or just silence. It is very difficult to explain, but you know it when you see it – or better yet, when you feel it. I think that we identify our love specifically as Black love, because there is always the understanding that a Black couple has very likely had to endure more adversity (for a number of possible reasons), than most other races and ethnicities on this earth. I know that’s a big generalization, and that is not to say that no one faces adversity besides Black folks, but it’s just different for us – in my humble opinion. I also don’t think that every Black couple automatically gets a “Black Love” card just because they are a Black couple. But there are those couples that have a certain je ne sais quoi that just exudes whatever our definition of Black love is.

    • Val

      +1

    • mena

      You and RWC hit the nail on the head. “Black love” entails 1) a struggle and 2) something that is almost out of reach. It’s almost mythical which shows how screwed up a black pwrson’s perception of love can be. The Obama’s are the height of black love bc we have seen their struggle and they have discussed how their relationship almost didn’t happen. They are that “myth” yet one that can also be true. It is out of reach but attainable at the same time.

      No discredit to Jay and B but I don’t put them in the same category as black love. They are just two black superstars who got married.

      • Angel Baby

        Truth!

    • Todd

      +2

  • Secret Sauce

    What’s black love? Hell, I thought love was colorblind.

    • Iceprincess2

      It is. God is love, and we are all created in his image.

      • Chocolatte

        Here here

    • Yoles

      Love, Love is what i am into myself…