Through last weekend’s Black Love Weekend they were able to emphasize their commitment to strengthening and celebrating the Black community through the lens of love 365 days a year. They curated a weekend that encapsulated the essence of a Black Love experience and honored figures within our community who exemplify what it means to ‘lead with love,’ all while creating a safe space where Black love can thrive.
Black Love Inc. is the premier 100% Black-owned partner for celebrating 360 degrees of Black Love. The media company, founded by Codie & Tommy Oliver, is a hub for Black couples and singles to have transparent conversations around relationships, parenthood, dating, and more with an OTT app, podcast network, documentaries, and live events.
The Black Love Summit included signature conversations featuring Russell & Nina Westbrook, Jeannette Reyes & Robert Burton, Melanie Fiona, Melvin Gregg, Algee Smith, Adrian Holmes, Chance Brown, Mattie James as well as Black Love creators Tommy & Codie Elaine Oliver.
My top favorite panel was the couple panel between Russell Westbrook and Nina Westbrook. Which we typically see Russell on the court or in the media for other reasons. Alongside his wife he seemed way more laid back and quiet, while his wife exhilarated strong passion. Nina also opened up about their totally different family communication dynamics growing up. Surprisingly the couple has been dating since they were eighteen years old. So they have had to learn themselves along with learning each other from a teen to an adult. “We started dating when we were eighteen. When we were eighteen it wasn’t nothing I wasn’t going to say. I grew up in a family that was very vocal. We would have spirited debates daily, that was the way of life. Whereas Russell comes from an extremely different background. So I was all for spirited debates and Russel was all for nothing very early on. I think as we have grown, matured, explored and got to know each better that has evolved into the current day. Not without trials and tribulations” Nina shared.
My second favorite panel was the wives and husband panel. Which was very transparent from both sides of the husbands and the wives. When it comes to insecurities, understanding their love languages, avoiding arguments to keep peace in your relationship and more. Some of the husbands were quite hilarious like Bill Bellamy and Kenny Burns which you could tell they definitely bring comedic relief with their marriage.
“I came home the other day and I brought food home and I had a lot of shit in my hand. And they never open the door for me in my house, I just feel – even when I come home from out of town and I got bags nobody is just running to the door. So I’m coming through the door and the kitchen door is locked, with a bag in each hand and she in the kitchen. I’m looking through the window like if you don’t open this door. And when she finally opens the door, I’m like baby stop doing that. You got to know when to start opening the door, like I do when you come home. Long story short, she said what do you mean? I’m saying I mean what I’m saying and she was like the way you were talking to me. And I’m trying to tell her how I feel and I want you to know how I feel. And she got mad at me and went to sleep. You can’t go to sleep mad at me, that’s the rule we set 23 years ago, that we can’t go to sleep mad at each other” Kenny Burns shared about how sometimes men have to apologize within their marriage to keep the peace even when they don’t mean it. Because sometimes the arguments aren’t worth it and that should go for any relationship you have with someone.
“We tried this different approach and it really made him share honestly how he was feeling and it really softened me. I was like wow I actually feel that too. So it was a good feeling and important to us in that moment, “Adrienne Gammy” Norris stated.
“ My biggest thing is when I feel like I’m not being heard, it’s the most triggering thing for me.” Fiona added.
Following the Summit, Black Love Inc. hosted the inaugural Black Love Honors Brunch on as well, which was hosted by producer and award-winning actress Niecy Nash-Betts. We celebrated and honored the contributions of luminaries across industries who are dedicated to championing love in all its forms.
We also had the chance to interview actress Niecy Nash, when asked about being public in her new relationship with a woman did she think it would affect her career and did she think her fans would look at her differently. “ I wasn’t concerned what anyone was going to think because I knew that I was standing in love, love never fails. And I get it some people may have had reservations about it or could have been dead set against it. But it wasn’t going to change what I was going to do, the funny thing about that is that you’re talking about a personal choice. Most of the people who you call fans are fans of what you do in your career so I still know how to act, I mean have you seen Jeffrey Dahmer, I’m in a whole other series which I lead called Rookie Feds . I can still act so if your concern for me is where I lay my head at night in private then I can’t really help you with that. But I can give you good work on tv, I can make you laugh, I can make you cry, but I don’t have to live my life behind closed doors in service to anyone” Nash answered.
Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, recipients of the Icon award shared as they received their award “I never knew what love was, I thought it was perfection or abuse. When I got older I realized I didn’t know what the hell it was”.
Devon Franklin, recipient of the Wellness award, opened up about going through divorce from his now ex-wife Megan Good.
“We always talk about black love, but we don’t talk about black divorce”he expressed about learning how to live his life truthfully and not perfectly. “What about navigating moments you didn’t pray for and sometimes black love hurts” he also shared he is going through it and he has learned in this experience that love is not enough. He got love wins tatted during this divorce so that he can always remember love will win.