Photo credit: OWN Network
Every now and then a show comes along that makes you reconsider your perspective on finding love in a hookup culture. OWN Network new show Love Is gives us a glimpse into falling in love in the 90’s. Do you remember the 90’s? Come on now! Living Single, The Fresh Prince, Family Matters, Martin, and A Different World. The 90’s were all about fighting for black love and family. Do you remember when DeWayne confessed his love for Whitney at her wedding? Yep. How about when Will dressed up in a fat suit and told Lisa he loved her in the grocery store? Awww man! That’s the kind of love we need and will cherish forever.
Back in the 90’s black love was everywhere. You always witnessed the man chasing after his woman because he loved and wanted their love. Black women held downs careers and dated without objectifying themselves. We were empowered and inspired to have a Nina and Darius kind of love when we grew up. Why not? If it was on tv, it could happen in real life.
Every Tuesday, we get to revisit the 90’s era on OWN. With fresh faces, Michele Weaver as Nuri and Will Catlett, Yasir, we are in for an overdose of a romantic drama. Created and based off of the love story of super producers Mara Brock Akil and her hubby Salim Akil.
If you know Mara, she’s going to give you some hip, cool, and edgy flavor with her female characters. Mara’s character may be a bit complicated in the love department. However, they are bold powerhouses whether in the boardroom or behind the scenes of a tv show. Don’t you remember Being Mary Jane, The Game, and Girlfriends? Yes, exactly! Mara is the truth and she holds nothing back in this new show.
I’ll have to admit I was nervous about Love Is when it first came onto the scene. Why? I’m a hopeless romantic and a modern-day woman looking for that perfect hook into a show that I can sync my toes and feet into weekly. Over the past few years, I’ve been missing a strong female character that I could relate to beyond skin tone. I could get suspense, intrigue, drama, and stupidity on other networks. But, I always felt less fulfilled. There was nothing on television like Girlfriends or Living Single. The sisterhood narrative was dead. Black men were not interested in saving the family. So, I as a viewer was left with other options to fill the void in my heart. How about you?
Now, I’ve seen a few shows tackle black love from a variety of perspectives and decades. More often than not, it’s the same narrative of the single black woman scrumping through breadcrumbs in the dating world. Granted she may be successful, stylish, financially stable, and popular amongst friends. The man in her life is often questionable. He’s either someone’s man, a tool, outside our race, not interested in marriage, the disgruntled ex, or just the annoying sometimes sexually fluid male friend. Ugh! Yeah, those shows are entertaining. But, they give power to the mentality that finding real genuine love is impossible in our society. Black women don’t get married. The black family is irreversibly broken. So, you might as well hookup, settle, or become the glorified side chick.
Luckily, Mara and Salim found it worthy enough for us to learn from their love story. After all twenty years of marriage is a major accomplishment. When we meet Nuri, she’s hard at work on a script and trying to find her footing in LA. Within a year she’s purchased a home, has a gig on a hit tv show, and she has a few options for male suitors. Not bad for a girl with a California dream. Yasir is a single dad who has relocated to California with his girlfriend Ruby. However, their relationship is on a downward spiral to break up-ville. Ruby’s fed up with Yasir’s pipe dreams and needs money for the bills. While Yasir is a devout Muslim who’s going through a hard time trying to support himself and his dream.
Well, if you’re guessing that Yasir and Nuri fall in love at first sight. You’re wrong. Sorry. Wrong show. Yasir and Nuri briefly meet and go their separate ways. That’s right. Timing is everything. Yasir and Nuri don’t cross paths until a year later. Being a gentleman, Yasir asks Nuri on a date and well…the rest is in the show.
Love is, is not the ordinary show where you meet two characters searching for love and playing hopscotch with multiple partners. Quite the contrary my friends, you’re going to get a lot more depth and sensuality. While rooting for Nuri and Yasir, you will discover that Yasir is a man of great principles and values. While he’s in a situation with Ruby, he’s not dipping his spoon in her coffee. He’s actually a good guy. While Nuri seems a bit career obsessed and likes to have options on her phone. You will come to discover that even as a modern woman of the 90’s she has standards and rules that a lot of women can relate to today.
Love Is, is filled with quirky, sarcastic characters that are not afraid and unapologetic about keeping it real. Here’s the best part about the show: You get a realistic happily ever after. Most shows throw you into the love story and you are left to conclude what happens to the couple twenty years later. Well, Yasir and Nuri are of course married and they are recounting their love story for us.
Do you believe in love? Depends on your generation. If you’re between 18-25, your perspective on love is pretty watered down like your great aunt’s kool-aid. Unfortunately, our television programs give us dysfunctional relationships that we have come to normalize in our real life. Love seems almost impossible if you’re a thirty-something woman with two or more kids, divorced or never married. Your dating options consist of swiping left or right online, searching through your friend friends list on Facebook, dating in the workplace, or trying to work through your problems in a bad relationship. Unfortunately, after forty-something women finding love for a single and accomplished woman is harder than finding a needle in a haystack.
What are we left with to believe in love? We idolize celeb relationships, look to our great aunts or uncles for marital advice, cheer on our friends as they head for the altar, and pray that God sends us someone to love. Trust me, it’s tough if you’re a single man or woman.
Here’s the beautiful poetic thing about Love Is and it’s timing. People are still dating and meeting new people online. Why? We don’t want to be in this life alone. Yes, the odds are challenging and filled with more headaches than Tylenol can handle. But, Love Is gives the young woman with a career hope that she can have it all. It may not come in the perfect package. But, when it arrives at your doorstep open it with an open heart. For men, Yasir is an example that through self-control and discipline your ambitions are not futile. You just need the right partner to be in alignment with your vision. Who you are at your core doesn’t have to be compromised to find love. Love will find you when you are open and ready to receive it. And when you find it, you fight for it. Not with just your words but with your actions. Sometimes love is only a script, coffee shop, or an introduction away from changing your life.
Do you believe in love? Have you found love to believe in 2018?
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