The headlines last year were sensational.

Successful, Black, and lonely

Black Women See Fewer Black Men at the Altar

Single black women should end the blame game

I could go on all day.

Although Black women are doing the damn thing and succeeding in academia, the arts, and the workforce, according to the media, we are doing it alone.

From Nightline, to The Washington Post, to The Economist, to Essence and CLUTCH, last year the media couldn’t stop talking about young, fabulous, and (supposedly) hopelessly single Black women.

In 2010 we were inundated with hyperbolic statistics about our chances at marriage and. given advice by pseudo-experts. Steve Harvey, Hill Harper, and Jimi Izrael all jumped on the “black women are lonely and need help!” bandwagon and released books that aimed to give us some “much needed” (but overly contrived) advice that would finally help us snag a man.

The media blitz was dizzying and annoying, and eventually, we just became so sick and tired of listening to the doom-and-gloom rhetoric, we stopped listening. (Or maybe that was just me?)

Either way, the media would have you believe that for Black woman, love is illusive and rare. But honey, that’s just not the case.

Many of us have grown up fantasizing about our ideal mate. Whether you deem him your “Prince Charming” or just your “Mr./Ms. Right,” most of us have some sort of picture of what our perfect partner will look/act/be like.

Despite the hype the media created last year, and their constant talking point that 45% of us are not married (which means the majority are, right? Never mind.), was the fact that many of us are in stable, loving relationships. *gasp*

Never mind that, in general, people are waiting longer to get married, and that unmarried, cohabitating couples now outnumber married ones, the media’s attention on single Black women amounted to an attack on Black love.

I remember having these long conversations with my peers in college about “Black Love.” At the time we’d have our own little battle of the sexes where we’d bring all of our “issues” to the table. Back then we were clearly immature and inexperienced at dating and being in love, and it showed. We stumbled in and out of relationships, screwed some really great people over, and just didn’t have much of a clue. But the one thing we did have going for us was our willingness to have open and honest conversations about what we wanted and expected of our lovers.

Was there blame? Of course. But at the end of the day we walked away, still friends, and still hopeful and believing in the power of love…and yes, even Black love.

Whenever I hear the term, “Black Love” a constant loop of movie clips rolls through my head. Nina and Darius standing under the El train trying figure out how to make it work. Bleek and Indigo tying the knot in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. Monica and Quincy playing one-on-one for each other’s hearts. Kenya and Bryan finally dancing at the debutant ball. Whenever the news insists that Black women are unlovable (despite nearly 80% of hitched Black men being married to sistas) I retreat to my own real-world examples (grandparents, aunts/uncles, parents, boo’d up friends) and films that illustrate the power of love.

Although I’m a sucker for love stories, and especially Black love stories, for some women the traditional view of Black love—between a Black man and Black woman—is not enough.

Today, Black women are increasingly following our hearts and finding love to meet our needs.

And I’m all for it.

Black Love shouldn’t be some mythical giant we all aspire to meet, but rather the practical application of love in our lives. Whether we are in a relationship with a Black man/woman, or embracing the possibilities of an interracial relationship, whenever we as Black women are in love…it is beautiful.

As Dr. Maya Angelou put it, “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” And despite what the media has to say, Black women are embracing the love we want, and need, in our own way.

How do you define “Black Love”?

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  • new moon

    I enjoyed reading this beautiful article and enjoyed the open honest and true to life comments. Thank you to the Black Men, your voice is so apreciated and needed (Boomshots, madhouse24 and Julian).
    I’m living my ‘Black Love’ everyday and everyday we grow closer and stronger…its a bond that is deep and sweet, and real, and sexy.

  • i find it really funny that so many people are claiming ‘Black love’ is the love between a Black woman and a Black man… when one of the examples the author cited (Bryan and Monica of the film ‘Something New’) was love between a Black woman and a White man. love is love… Black love is anything that you, as a Black person, feel for your significant other. check this out: http://blackloveposter.tumblr.com/

  • *Bryan and Kenya

    lol Monica was from Love and Basketball