Valentine's Day: The importance of Black Love

Valentine's Day continues to be a holiday celebrated between couples, proclaiming their love for each other with the use of material things, and other more intrinsic means. With love being on our radars during this season - it is prudent to question the notion of "Black Love" within the context of a society that depicts black people as unlovable due to the prevalence of racist stereotypes and misogynistic views towards our women.

As Valentine's Day approaches, I am reminded of the reoccurring trend of relationship goals - going on holiday together or buying each other gifts amongst other things that are deemed to be aspirational to the (social media) masses. However, whilst admiring the material things your significant other can provide for you in the relationship, it's important to acknowledge the effect of showing affection without the need to buy something. In society, especially during Valentine's Day, it is seen as the norm to treat your partner to items such as chocolates, roses - or if you're willing and able to spill the cash, jewellery. In the black community, where social constructs, such as gender roles, play a huge part in the way we love one another, it's important that we strive to focus on less materialistic methods to show affection.

Due to historic fallacy, the black man is perceived as sexually driven and lacking emotion, which has been propogated through main stream media. Although the origin of this 'belief' stems from racist stereotypes by the white man, hyper-masculinity remains an issue in a lot of relationships, where some black men consider themselves dominant - as opposed to a more egalitarian view of his partner, as the name 'partner' suggests. On the other hand, black women have been perceived as loud, bitter and opinionated (as if that is a bad thing?), which has resulted in an intra-racial issue regarding dating black women. Black women, not only receive racial discrimination from other races but endure sexism from our own men (and women who reveal their internalised misogyny), affecting their dating pool, in terms of which race is best to enter a relationship with.

My understanding of the term 'Black Love' is the concept of dating intra-racially, and whilst that isn't the be all and end all for black people, it is beautiful to acknowledge such love in a society that argues that black lives, let alone black love, doesn't matter.

In unity, we must learn to love our own. To prefer our own. How can we claim to love ourselves, yet show distain for the very people that look the most like us – that look the most like our parents who birthed us. To fail to see the beauty in our own race, is to fail to see the beauty in ourselves. We must reject the labels and stereotypes that are so gratuitously offered up by the (white controlled) mass media and begin to replace this harmful rhetoric.

This Valentine's Day, and for every day after that, we must strive to truly LOVE one another - not only from an 'eros' type of love - passionate and romantic love. But also from a more holistic, community type of love.

As Lucky (played by Tupac Shakur) said in the film 'Poetic Justice', "We Black. We all family."