Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
There’s something special about Black love, and for years, that has been chronicled on the iconic OWN TV show “Black Love.” The married couple behind that massively popular show, Codie and Tommy Oliver, are the guests on the new episode of “Masters of the Game,” which premieres Friday night on theGrio TV at 8 p.m.
“Black Love” puts a lens on Black couples like a documentary, interrogating what it is to be in a relationship. The show gets best friends deep about people’s relationships. They talk about recovering from infidelity, how the couple first got into a groove, how they deal with bumps in the relationship road – all kinds of deep things. Watching the show really feels like sitting on a couch with some wine alongside a few couples who are curled up on a couch and getting real about the deep parts of their relationship. I love this show.
Codie and Tommy Oliver are a married couple who work together on raising their family — they have three young sons — and making TV shows and movies. It’s complicated to work with your spouse! You might take a work issue home with you and mess with your relationship. Or a relationship issue might spill over into the workplace and mess that up. All sorts of things can happen so I was curious to learn from the Olivers how they handle collaborating in work and home life. Also, how do they divide the workload on set and how do they work together to decide what projects to do? They have a lot of great advice on how to work in the film and TV business as well as how to work together and how to make sure it remains a fruitful partnership.
But at the heart of the Olivers’ story is this epic show “Black Love.” One thing I felt while watching the show is this: We talk a lot about Black love and the joy of being in a relationship with someone who understands our culture, our struggle and our shorthand. I get that and I respect that. It’s a beautiful accelerant for love. But in most of the stories that Black couples told on “Black Love,” I could not see many instances where they said something that a mixed couple or a white couple would not have said. In romantic relationships, there are challenges that impact everyone. It’s fulfilling but very hard for two people to share their hearts and their lives, and many of the things that Black couples go through are things that every couple goes through.
Of course, there are some parts of Black relationships that are unique to Black people. We can connect around Black culture. We can support each other in moments that are painful because of racism in ways that non-Black partners could never match. Racism has all sorts of impacts on dating and relationships. But for so much of “Black Love,” as they talked about getting to know each other and working through issues and being buoyed by love, I kept thinking, if I close my eyes will I know that a Black couple is talking? For sure because I can recognize Black voices. The Black-dar is real. But if I was reading a transcript of “Black Love,” would I know that a Black couple is talking? Probably not (unless, like part of Black English or slang gave them away). The point is that so much of what happens in a relationship is common in every home and every union. So much of the ups and downs of loving someone is universal. I think it’s liberating to realize that. Black love is important and building Black families matters. Also, love, in so many ways, is love no matter who’s in it.
We talk about all of that and more on a really special edition of “Masters of the Game” where Codie and Tommy Oliver talk about making TV and films that uplift Black people as well as the nature of love and how they worked together to make an unforgettable show about Black love.
Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at TheGrio.com/starstories. He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.
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