I really do hate when I have to go here. Putting any relationship talk through a race-based prism is always the exact opposite message I attempt to convey on this blog. There is a reason I don’t use race to describe any of the women I date, and that’s largely because I don’t want anyone to think my problems, my issues, my checkered history with women from my past has anything to do with the race of women I date. In other words, I never want to give someone the opportunity to tell me something like, “Well, maybe if you dated more than just black women, you wouldn’t have the problems you had.”
There is something I find disturbing in the reactions I get when I say I only date black women. People jump to these conclusions based on their own preconceived notions, and no sooner do I make my declaration do I have to defend it. Maybe it’s because I’m mixed and people are confused why someone of mixed race would inherently choose one. As Jermaine told me over the weekend, “People only ask you why you only date black women because of the way you look.” Or maybe it’s because in America, the standard of beauty for most men is almost never a black woman, except if her name is Halle Berry or Beyonce. Whatever it is, every now and then I get fed up with the questions and even more fed up with the assumptions about the type I prefer to date. So here it is folks, my little attempt to debunk the myths about men like me who prefer to date black women, STARTING WITH THE ONE I STATE IN THE TITLE.
It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally, when interviewing a subject for a story, there comes a transcendent moment. I don’t know when or how it usually happens in the moment, but I can always tell when the interviewee and I have gone from a formal discourse to personal dialogue, when we’re not just having an interview, we’re having a conversation. The professional in me is thrilled at this because I know it means I will have a wealth of material from which to work when I start writing. But there’s something even more enriching to come out of such a moment.
For me, an enriching conversation with a stranger reminds me of why I got into this business in the first place. Sure, I wanted to talk to the famous people of the world and create good stories from my conversations with them, but more importantly, I am always in search of a lesson from them of some sort. There are things I have learned in life from reading great interviews, so when I’m approaching my own interviews, I’m always hoping to find something teachable, something that a reader can apply to their own life. Do I want to illuminate and break news within an interview? Of course, that is my journalistic responsibility. But I will admit, the selfish part of me also wants to get hip to the game of life. For the most part, I have the privilege of talking to who I want to talk to and I’ll be damned if I let such a privilege be wasted on just the facts. I always try to get to a point where we’re going off the record because I know we’re about to talk about something real, for lack of a better word.
There was nothing off the record during my conversation with Salim Akil. For the unfamiliar, Salim is the director of Jumping The Broom, the brand new movie that came out Friday and went on to make over $14 million at the box office this past weekend. He is also the husband of Mara Brock-Akil, a woman who has slowly but surely become a force in Hollywood. She created the hit series, Girlfriends, and then along with her husband The Game, and she has arguably been the more visible and more successful half of the couple. As I mention in the opening line of my story with Salim, when I was doing my research for Salim, there was more about his wife, than him. Considering their careers as individual, this made sense, but it also enforced my belief that Salim’s story needed to be told.
I want to call attention to a disturbing trend I have noticed amongst one half of the text messaging populous.
We can talk all day about the ways people have allowed text messaging to get out of hand. I hear the complaint especially from women about how guys don’t pick up the phone anymore. They never call, they only text. When they text, their spelling is awful. Back and forth we go, punching keys, touching screens, shortening words in an attempt to express complete thoughts.
Yes indeed, things are out of control. It’s not about how often we text, but how much of our life we want to text away. Texting is cool, but must we text so much? What, if anything at all, is a subject we should never text about? These are serious questions because I have three friends who recently have been sent text messages from women about things that frankly, shouldn’t be discussed over the screens of our cell phones.