On November 13th, Black Love Inc, the Black-owned media company and home of the highly-acclaimed Black Love docuseries — held the inaugural “Black Love Honors Brunch” at Hudson Loft in Downtown Los Angeles. The awards program honored the contributions of influential figures dedicated to championing love in the following six categories: self love, partnership, community impact, wellness, storytelling, and icons, with honorees: Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, Kendrick Sampson, Lauren London, and DeVon Franklin.
The Honors brunch was part of Black Love Inc’s Black Love Weekend, which focused on Black love and joy. The weekend kicked off on November 12th with the return of the 5th Annual Black Love Summit. The weekend and summit marked a new chapter for the media company, given the final installment of the Black Love docuseries this summer. Black Love, Inc., continues to expand its reach and message through live events, digital video series, and partnerships that contextualize and amplify the realities of the Black love experience. The media company recently premiered the fourth season of its digital series Couch Conversations with Kevin “KevOnStage” & Melissa Fredericks as the new hosts and introduced two new shows to its podcast network.
The founders of Black Love Inc, Codie Elaine Oliver, and Tommy Oliver, created the platform to highlight Black romantic love. Still, they knew they wanted to affirm the black community in all forms of love.
“We wanted to discuss parenthood, sisterly and brotherly relationships, friendships, and self-love. We’ve been doing that for several years through our website, the Black Love+ app, podcast network, and social channels. The Honors brunch was an opportunity for us to be loud about the fact that we’re committed to black love wholeheartedly,” said Oliver.
Oliver decided to select Nash-Betts to host the first Honors brunch because of her commitment to love in all aspects. “Niecy Nash is the ultimate love ambassador, period. She has been vocal about her commitment to her romantic partner and love for her community. I admired her from a sisterly standpoint, seeing so many people that we have in common that she calls sisters. Their love is so deep and so loud. And they show up for each other. She also speaks beautifully about love whenever she can,” she said.
Nicey Nash-Betts hosted the exclusive event, and when asked what Black love means to her, she told ESSENCE, “Black love means to me having a unique bond and perspective on the experience. Black-on-black love means that I understand a tone when we walk into a store, the look you may have in your eyes when we’re getting pulled over. Those things make it very unique and special.”
Davis and Tennon echoed a similar sentiment. To her, Black love means viewing Black love as an action. “It’s about understanding the definition of love as a verb and nurturing another person’s spiritual and emotional development. Black love brings two people together who have each other’s back. You’re investing in each other’s growth spiritually and there with them when times get rough,” said.
Nash-Betts noted that she’s a massive fan of the Honors brunch because of the unique perspectives in the room. She also reflected on her return to Black Love Inc’s Black Love Weekend. “The last time I was here, I was on a panel and in a different marriage, and now I’m back hosting. I’m still an advocate of love. I would have returned even when I was crawling across the floor with a broken heart, too – because that’s still a space of self love and self-care.”
She also attributes her newly found glow to her wife of two years, Jessica Betts. “This is the first time I’ve ever been in a relationship with someone I was friends with first. Here’s the thing about love, you can get it, and I’ve had it, I’ve given it, but when you get it properly. People look at me and say, “You look different, seem different. You glow.” It’s not the gender; it’s the reciprocity. It just hits differently,” she says with a smile.
What’s next for the Betts? “We’re looking for our next project to combine our artistries, to manifest a first look deal,” Nash-Betts responded coyly. “Look out for a delicious cameo in the new Reno 911 Christmas Heist movie, in December.”