Have you listened to the radio lately? That might be your jam that you’re bumping hard, but you might be missing what it’s really saying beneath that beat. The airwaves have been overrun by negative portrayals of Black relationships that don’t reflect what’s really out there.

For at least a decade, rappers have asked women to “hold their man down” and put up with lying, dealing, or cheating, but when did R&B totally lose its way? Nowadays, every other song we play is about a one-night stand, a dysfunctional arrangement between two people who shouldn’t be together, or a cheater who wants a second chance. As a woman, are those really my only options for love? I should think not.

Black love is beautiful, and there’s so much more to love in our communities than what our music portrays. Love songs today tell the same ol’ sad tales — you know, the ones plagued with domestic violence, emotional abuse, and communication solely through screams and yells. A lot of people call it “Hood Love,” and we bump our heads and clap our hands when the songs come on as if it’s the only kind of love we know. But what about all those relationships out there that do actually work? Aren’t they worth singing about too?

On the surface, the hits on today’s music charts may appear to be feel-good tunes, but they’re sending out the wrong messages to young people still discovering love. No wonder we see so many women today with their signals crossed and bearing more stress from a man than anyone should have to stand.

Don’t believe every line you hear, ladies, choosing happiness is never the wrong choice. If he loves you, he won’t make you cry all the time or call you out your name, and if you love him you won’t belittle him or be in his face or make a big scene every time you don’t get your way. That’s hood love, ladies — not real love.

In a healthy relationship, people speak with love, not hate. They’re both held accountable for their actions and their fears, and they work at strengthening their marriage — not tearing it apart. You wouldn’t know it by listening to your favorite song, but the truth is: good love is still out there.

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