By Edward Henderson
If you drive through South Park these days you’ll see the typical indicators of a gentrified area. Breweries, health food stores and yoga studios adorn street corners that were once home to San Diego’s people of color. On Wednesday, February 15th, however, She is Soul hosted an event in the heart of South Park to delve into the topic of Black Love.
The Rose Wine Bar played host to the event, which part of She is Soul’s ‘Wake Up Wednesday’ monthly series. This edition, entitled “Black Love, Past to Present”, featured a lively conversation covering thoughts on the definition of black love, interracial dating and spirituality within relationships.
Brisa Lauren, one of the founding members of She is Soul, opened the dialogue with historical facts that may correlate with barriers preventing black love and healthy relationships. She mentioned the ‘jumping the broom’ marriage ritual slaves performed in secret and correlated it to the 68% of black children growing up in single parent households according to the last US Census. From her perspective, the past trauma from slavery and racial strife since then has affected our relationships today.
“In relationships we always hear, ‘communication is key’ and ‘I love you’”, said Lauren. “Society has provided us with these key words, but we don’t dive into what they mean. It’s important in our relationships to take the time and define what these words mean.”
The conversation then transitioned to thoughts on interracial relationships and their effect on black love. Nirvana Hawkins, a product of an interracial relationship, offered some keen insight into how her upbringing has shaped her view on black love.
“I’ve never seen black love,” said Hawkins. “I had to teach myself how to learn from a blank page. I try to piece together examples of what I’d like to experience and how I want my kids to be. I have to teach my son how to be a black man and my daughter how to love her hair.”
The conversation also brought insight on different kinds of relationships within our community. Onya Flowers was in a polyamorous relationship: the practice of intimate relationships where individuals may have more than one partner, with the knowledge and consent of all partners.
“I’m poly, and for the black community this can be a hard sale,” said Flowers. “It’s hard not to feel like I’m going to be shunned. I can’t believe I haven’t dated a black person because I’m a proud black woman. I wrestling with the fact that all the stuff you hear and see in the world is why many black men don’t date black women.”
Attendees then shared their views on what they thought black love was and how it can grow.
“Black love starts with loving yourself,” said Shophar Graves. “Many of us have wounds from the past that show up in our current relationships. Once we take care of those within ourselves, we can have a healthy and balanced experience.”
“Black love is community, LGBTQ black love dynamics, it’s about us emptying our pockets and seeing how we’re going to change the world and how will we show up for each other,” said Christina Griffin.
Lauren closed the event informing everyone in attendance that future events will focus on guest speakers, dinner discussions and intimate gatherings in locations that will expand the black experience in San Diego. To stay informed about locations and times for future events, visit sheissoul.com.