Instagram, also known to many as “the ‘gram,” launched a Black love series and campaign called ‘Love at First Slide’ earlier this month as part of Black History Month. One couple whose story tugged at our heartstrings was that of newlyweds Telsha Anderson-Boone and Justin Boone—two fashion entrepreneurs who met during the pandemic.
It all began when one of Justin’s close friends played cupid and showed him Telsha’s Instagram account, believing they’d be a good match. As fate would have it, a few days later, Telsha was scrolling through her Instagram feed and someone caught her eye—the person was Justin. She made the first move by sending him a DM about a T-shirt he was wearing in the photo that captured her attention, only to learn he designed it himself. From there, they bonded on fashion and faith.
“Of course he was super cute. I loved the way he dressed,” Telsha tells ESSENCE. “It was rare at the time to see a man show off a lot of different outfits. And it worked for him. I love that about him. Then all of his captions had Bible scriptures. So I was like, oh, he’s not a psycho, he’s a believer. You’re like, I’m a believer, so it should be fine.”
Justin also liked what he saw on Telsha’s page, specifically that she had some mystery to her.
“There were pictures of her, of her face—they were few and far between, but enough for me to become attracted to her,” Justin says. “I also really enjoyed her style. Style is something that is important to me.”
He adds, “I was just like, not only is she beautiful and not only does her friend vouch for her, but also, her Instagram isn’t throwing any red flags.”
Dating during the pandemic, of course, has its obstacles, but they found their way around them. One of the difficulties they faced was not being able to go on dates right away, which is the norm for most people getting to know one another in the age of swipe-to-your-right apps.
“A lot of stuff [was] closed down. So you have to get really, really, creative with your dates,” Telsha says. “You also are inviting someone to your home. I had an apartment in Harlem, so I was like, ‘oh, we can’t do this, but you can come over and we [could] do that.’ And so it’s also like, ‘oh, wait, you’re already at my house.’ And then it was like, okay, I really have to trust this person to let them in my personal space during a pandemic, [but] it obviously worked out.”
It certainly did, as the couple got engaged eight months after connecting and married in the fall of 2021. Their love story is an unconventional one: meeting in the DMs and maintaining a healthy and happy relationship despite the limits created by the pandemic. Now that they’re husband and wife, they hope to have the type of lasting love that they believe is true Black love — the kind they witnessed growing up.
“Black love to me is a strong sense of generational wealth. And I believe that wealth is deeper than just finances. I think that a strong sense of Black love is really something that can trickle down to generations and something people get an opportunity to experience for themselves,” he says. “I don’t think that there is any other type of love that compares to Black love. I mean, I can’t speak too far across cultures, but the closest thing for me is my relationship with God and my relationship with Telsha is the next best thing. And I think that comes down to not just our skin tone, but the foundation is that we have Black parents, and growing up in a Black household and having certain rules and regulations and things set in place that are really unique to Black families.”
“I think for me Black love is just an ode to our Black community. The reassurance that you can find healthy love. You know, platonic free and intimately within our space,” she adds. “I’ve always known that I wanted to marry a Black man and I think that was just about how I was raised, but actually experiencing it and finding someone that was not only Black, but also equally yolked was like, oh, like, this is real love.”
Let’s toast to Black love and finding it in unexpected places. You can find more sweet stories like this or share your own by using the hashtag #ThisisBlackLove and #ShareBlackStories next time you’re on Instagram.