Love isn’t just an emotion; it’s an action verb.

Lil Wayne’s latest and unexpectedly deep video “How to Love” dropped yesterday. The video portrays the life of a daughter of a single mother and depicts how her mother’s poor decisions lead to tragic consequences.

“I must admit that I teared up,” wrote one viewer. “I’m too darn sensitive! But yes!!! Thank you Lil Wayne! (Probably the only time I will ever say those words).”

In a “Run Lola Run” sort of scenario, the video also reveals what would have happened if the mother had made better choices, namely loving herself enough to leave an abusive mate and setting a good example for her daughter of how (or who) to love. Her daughter’s life wouldn’t have been golden but markedly better.

In the tragic scenario, we find the heroine at her doctor’s office awaiting her HIV test results. By then, she’s seen her father beat her mother, visited her dad in prison, been molested by her mom’s boyfriend, and eventually become a prostitute.

When the doctor gives the daughter her positive test results, I was one of those people who teared up, too. And I’m not all that sensitive.

“I have a daughter, Wayne has a daughter, and he really wanted to tell the story,” director Chris Robinson told MTV News. “We were talking about statistics of abuse in our community. We were talking about really telling this story for every young woman in the world.”

Who knew Wayne had it in him? But I guess if “I Get Around” Tupac can make “Dear Mama” and “Brenda’s Got a Baby,” then “(I Wish I Could F***) Every Girl in the World” Wayne can make “How to Love.”

Wayne may not be sending the best messages in his personal life — he’s got four children with three women — one of whom he was married to, and two of which were pregnant at the same time, but the message in the video resonates, showcasing issues, and the consequences of such, that disproportionately affect Black communities.

Nearly one-third of African-American women reported an incidence of domestic violence, according to the Institute of Domestic Violence in the African-American Community. And the Centers for Disease Control finds that HIV is leading cause of death for Black women ages 25-34.

As women, mothers and daughters and all other titles we hold, we must be responsible with how we love ourselves and how we practice that. Loving isn’t just about taking me-time, treating yourself to a spa day or even sacrificing yourself at someone else’s expense because you love them. More than anything, love is about doing what’s best for you — and your children, if you have them — at all times. That means being strong enough to leave a man who mistreats you, insisting on a condom, and not just saying you love yourself and those around you, but taking action steps to show you believe it.

Demetria L. Lucas is the Relationships Editor at ESSENCE and the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. She has recently been nominated for an African American Literary Award. Vote for her now on

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