• Chloe Graham

Black Love


This is an article about Black Love.



Love of children

"Well, son, I'll tell you:

Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

It's had tacks in it,

And splinters, [...]

But all the time

I'se been a-climbin' on,

And reachin' landin's, [...]

So boy, don't you turn back.

Don't you set down on the steps

'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.

Don't you fall now—"

Excerpt from Mother to Son by Langston Hughes


Many Black people will tell you, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Communities often raise Black children, and these communities give us some of our first Black love experiences and life lessons. A common life lesson in Black childhood is not to be ordinary but extraordinary in everything we do. We are taught to exemplify the excellence in your Blackness in everything we do, every time we walk into a room. Even when there are hardships to be faced, as Hughes’ mother states in his poem, we do not ‘set down.’ In the Black community, we have a biological family and a chosen family. Chosen family is the family you find along the way and form that familial connection with. After centuries of families being ripped apart and slavery's recurring effects, it is common to find these kind of chosen relationships within the Black community.


Love of Self

"I love you.

Because you love you.

Because you are erect.

Because you are also bent.

In season, stern, kind.

Crisp, soft-in season.

And you withhold.

And you extend.

And you Step out.

And you go back.

And you extend again. [...]"

Excerpt from To those of my Sisters who kept their Naturals by Gwendolyn Brooks


As Black people, we should take every chance possible to practice self-love because self-hate is ingrained into our society. Every morning when you wake up and take a breath as a Black person, that’s a radical act. When we love ourselves, we become dangerous to the establishment. Society has tried to teach us from a young age that we are below the standard. In all actuality, without us there would be no standard. We should love our complexion, the kinks and coils in our hair, our big lips, and our broad noses. We should embrace our AAVE and everything about ourselves. Black people deserve love too, and we must love ourselves to truly accomplish love with someone else. It's okay to take some time now and then to love yourself.


Love of Spirituality

"I sat on the throne

drinking nectar with allah

I got hot and sent an ice age to europe [...]

I turned myself into myself and was

jesus

men intone my loving name

All praises All praises

I am the one who would save

to cool my thirst [...]

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal

I cannot be comprehended

except by my permission

I mean . . . I . . . can fly

like a bird in the sky . . ."

Excerpt from Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why) by Nikki Giovanni


Being in tune with your spiritual side means understanding your soul and understanding what you need to do to connect with something beyond our plane of existence. Without love inside your spirit, you cannot love yourself, and you cannot love someone else. What this excerpt from Ego Tripping exemplifies is how finding one's spirituality can also better one’s self-love. We, as Black people, find spirituality, sometimes through religion, ancestry, our art, and in our peace. Spirituality is an essential part of how we get through life after generational trauma.


Love of a Partner

"[...] The sun has come.

The mist has gone.

We see in the distance our long way home.

I was always yours to have.

You were always mine.

We have loved each other in and out

in and out

in and out

of time."

Excerpt from In and Out of Time by Maya Angelou


The romantic bond between Black souls is truly eclectic. When two Black people genuinely love each other, the beauty is indescribable. The bond that we are able to share with a partner goes beyond the earth. A love that is so strong, it is beyond human comprehension. An eternal love that lives beyond human condition. A love that will live on forever through future generations. A love that lives, "In and out of time." You don't have to be in a romantic relationship to see it. Black love is witnessed in our households as children in so many different forms. We can experience the Black love of a partner without being in the experience.


Love of Humanity

"[...] here on this bridge between

starshine and clay,

my one hand holding tight

my other hand; come celebrate

with me that everyday

something has tried to kill me

and has failed."

Excerpt from won't you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton


Our ability as a community to continue to spread love and happiness to others despite all that they have put us through is remarkable. Love is a right, not a privilege. We make it our mission to make sure we reach every single person we can and make the world a better place for them. We hold on to each other for dear life, to make sure that the evil in the world doesn't get the chance to kill us. Black love in all forms is a radical practice, because Without Black love, there is no Black revolution. The way we love is revolutionary because when we love, things get done together. The Black community has been knocked down time and time again. We have been discriminated against in some way by everyone, and still, we rise. We show up to fight for ourselves and everyone else.


Why?


Because Black people know that only love will heal.


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