That's how I felt this morning after I saw a clip of John Gray telling women that when they carry themselves like wives, then a man will find them.
I respect John Gray as a pastor and a man of God but I'm fed up with men, especially Black men, giving their (unsolicited) opinion to women in a way that puts burdens of shame on single women.
For the past few years, Black men have become self-proclaimed experts on relationships. Tyrese, Rev Run, Steve Harvey, etc. have made money off of the vulnerability of the Black woman's desire to be loved romantically.
Humans are relational. We were made to connect with others and thrive as a collective. And because of our human nature, we want to share our lives with others, particularly a life partner. Yet, statistically, Black women have one of the highest percentages of being unwed.
According to Black Demographics, Black women were more likely to be married than white women until about 1970. During the 1970s, when Black women finally were able to get proper assistance from the government, provisions in welfare laws offered more economic incentives for single mothers. Two-parent families who had a man working a low-wage job were often penalized and received up to 20% less assistance than single mothers. The economic incentives for single moms created cohabitation because marriage would result in a substantial loss of aid to the family. The rise of cohabiting households caused a decline in marriage in the Black community and damaged the connection between Black men and Black women. Since then, Black women have been "Waiting to Exhale" longing to breathe in a world where Black love manifest.
In the midst of our pain, so-called relationship experts were birth. These emotional predators profited from emotionally abused Black women. They had us thinking their opinions were the answers to finding and keeping a man.
We have been told to fit a certain criteria in order to be married. We have been told that we need to cook, clean, be polished, be a lady, cover up, be sexy, not be promiscuous, be a freak in the bed, don't be angry in order to be loved. A list of do's and don'ts were our answer to being in a committed relationship. But how many relationships have flourished from these list?
When Jay-Z's released 4:44, a lot of women commended him for being transparent about his infidelity and being vulnerable to publicly apologize to his wife, Beyonce. I think so many women applauded Jay-Z because he didn't blame Beyonce (or Becky with the good hair) for his infidelity. He admitted his faults and strived to do better. He did everything in his power to make his marriage better. As women, we are tired of getting blamed for the lack of Black love. Jay-Z, in a sense, told men to be accountable, do better, and be better for Black women.
Black women have been the most emotionally battered group in the world. Since slavery, we have been told that everything is wrong with us, from the way we look to how we act. As of late, it has been us, the Sisterhood, to encourage each other and shower each other with love. And maybe that's where the love starts. Not from men but from ourselves and from God. We need to drown out the pseudo-gurus and love on each other like never before. We are enough NOW, as is, before we learn how to cook, before we wait 90 days to have sex, before we get rid of the "girlfriend" spirit and before we (fill in the blank). Yes, we all have room to grow and be better, but because we do (or don't do) something does not mean we are not worthy of love. We are worthy of love NOW.