Over the weekend, I had the honor of celebrating a momentous occasion – the wedding of a dear sorority sister from college. The wedding was a beautiful and joyful event, but it held a significance that extended beyond the ceremony itself. It was a celebration of Black love, a love that has a deep history, and one that defies stereotypes and challenges.
From my childhood memories of seeing a billboard in a predominantly Black neighborhood declaring that “marriage works,” I was always struck by the significance attached to marriage within the Black community. It also made me curious as to who thought it would be appropriate to put this billboard in a Black neighborhood, in contrast to putting this in a white neighborhood. As I became older, I realized the history of Black love and marriage in America is a complex one. During the time of slavery, it was not just challenging for Black individuals to marry, it was illegal. Families were torn apart, and love was often suppressed. The ability to celebrate a Black wedding with family and friends today feels like an act of resilience and defiance against this painful history.
Today, unfortunately, stereotypes still persist regarding the ability of Black people to maintain successful and loving marriages. These stereotypes are both unfounded and harmful. They fail to acknowledge the strength, courage, and love that Black couples share, often against significant odds. The wedding I attended shattered these stereotypes. It was not just a beautiful union; it was a testament to the intention of love and commitment shared by two individuals. It showed that Black love can and does thrive.
One of the most beautiful aspects of the wedding was the sense of community. It was a day where family and friends came together to celebrate not just two individuals but the love that had united them. The celebration felt invaluable, and it reminded me of the importance of love and connection in our lives. As a fellow soror, I had the privilege of serenading the bride with our Delta Sweetheart Song, a tradition that took me back to our college days. It was a reminder that our sisterhood endures, and that love is a binding force in all of our lives.
As I stood with my husband by my side, it was the first time we had attended a wedding as a married couple. It was a powerful reminder that Black love exists, and it deserves to be recognized, celebrated, and cherished. Love is a force that transcends stereotypes, historical challenges, and societal expectations. In the words of Bell Hooks, “When we are loving we openly and honestly express care, affection, responsibility, respect, commitment, and trust.”
In conclusion, the wedding was not just a celebration of two people coming together in love; it was a celebration of the enduring power of Black love. It was a reminder that love knows no boundaries, and it can flourish in the face of adversity. I left the wedding with my heart full, knowing that love, especially Black love, is a force to be celebrated and honored.