In the last month or so, three of my friends have become engaged (congrats, Tiffany, Namik and Tameka!), and on the celeb front, several Black women are prepping to jump the broom as well. Singer Brandy became engaged to music executive Ryan Press on New Year’s Eve. Over the Christmas holidays, Chicago financier Mellody Hobson became betrothed to Hollywood mogul George Lucas, her boyfriend of six years. And it’s been reported that also over the holidays, Janet Jackson got engaged to her sexy Qatari boyfriend Wissam Al Mana.
I’m super excited for all the soon-to-be brides and wish them nothing but the best. But I can’t help but notice there aren’t as many stories doing so as I would have expected. There’s a rule in journalism: “Three makes a trend.” Uh… three celebrity Black women just got engaged. So where are all the trend stories about Black women who will be walking down the aisle?
Trust, if there were three Black celebrity women divorcing their husbands or three Black celebrity break-ups, you wouldn’t be able to scroll through your Twitter timeline or Facebook feed without seeing headlines screaming, “Black love down for the count!”
Remember when rumors about Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith divorcing were at their peak? They were just one couple — one who is notably still together despite those rumors — and you couldn’t log on to any entertainment or news site without a story speculating about their alleged demise. Single blogger after single blogger wrote screeds on how their hope of love had been lost because their favorite celeb couple didn’t appear to be going The Distance. But now three Black women are… and crickets. There’s always a rush to report the bad news and highlight the negative. Where are the figurative pom-poms for the good?
With the constant stream of articles about “the problem” of single Black women, you’d never know that pending nuptials of Ms. Jackson, Ms. Dobson and Brandy actually mean they are becoming part of the majority. You might not have been able to make it through 2009-2012 without hearing that “42 percent of Black women are single” statistic quoted on TV, online, in the news and at brunch, but it always meant that 58 percent, the majority, of Black women are hitched. There just weren’t many stories about them — or to-be-married Black women, or even Black women with “only” loving, committed boyfriends.
I hope that with the pending nuptials of three celebrated Black women, we can (finally) kick off a new narrative when it comes to Black women and relationships, particularly the flipside that also talks about what the majority of us do — get married.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life (Atria), in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk