Representation Matters For Joe and Jonathan: ‘It’s More Than Black Gay Love, It’s A Responsibility’

A chance encounter at a party led to a love others can look up to for Joseph and Jonathan. Listen to their story.
Here at ESSENCE, we’ve been celebrating the beauty of Black love since our inception. From our pages to our stages, we’ve always honored and explored the inner-workings of Black love, and in doing so, we’ve had the unique honor of getting to hear and share some amazing love stories. When you ask a couple how they met, fell in love and decided to spend forever together, the answers you receive are often both moving and insightful. This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re digging deeper and asking couples to sit down and retell their love stories—from their own unique individual perspectives. Week one we caught up with married pastors Gabrielle and Andrew Wilkes to find out how they use their love to empower others and week two, newlyweds Sara Elise and Amber Drew shared the powerful reason why they asked their wedding guest not to use the word “marriage” during their wedding celebration. For week three, we explored marriage as a journey and a safe space with happily married couple Dave and Jehan Giles. For our final addition, we caught up with New York couple Jonathan Burke and Joseph Morris who share how they met during a chance encounter at a party and how that led to a love others can look up to. After meeting during a chance encounter at one of event planner Joe New York City parties, they’ve been together for over two years. On their first date, Morris admits that because Jonathan played it cool he was more intrigued to go on a second date. Their connection was undeniable and after that they only had eyes for each other. For them, their Black love is special because within their community, the representation is needed. “The term Black love means to me to be proud of the love that we have together and be proud of who we are as Black men in America sharing a journey through life together.” Jonathan tells us. Joe agrees. “It’s important as Black gay me to have a representation that’s positive,” he adds. “So it’s more than Black gay love, it’s also about being role models for people looking up to us. It’s a responsibility I would say.” Watch the couple retell the story of how they met and fell in love above.