It was fitting that ABC chose to tape its Nightline "Face-Off" segment, ''Why Can't a Successful Black Woman Find a Man?'' in Atlanta, a city where many black women have become the hunters and black men are the gatherers. This kind of reality brought droves of black women and men out for the taping of the show. A row of cars filled with black women (likely playing Beyoncé's ''Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)'') and black men (likely playing Fabolous' ''Make Me Better'') with heavy hearts and a lot of questions brought traffic to a standstill on Rainbow Drive. ''Are they giving away something for free in there?'' I joked to a young lady in the jam-packed parking lot. And they were. Advice is always free.
The two-hour seesaw discussion was moderated by Steve Harvey and Nightline's Vicki Mabrey and featured Sherri Shepherd, Jacque Reid, Hill Harper and Jimi Izrael. All had a unique perspective on the state of black love and played their positions well. Sherri was the fun personality with poignant arguments, Jacque seemed like she was in the trenches of this thing (she really identified with the challenges of black women), Izrael seemed bitter and misunderstood, even getting the side-eye a few times from Harvey, and Harper was the anecdotal statistics guy.
If I had a Twitter account (and it allowed for more than 140 characters), here are the five things I would've tweeted after the event.
1. It Takes Two to Tango. This ''epidemic'' is not about black women. If black women are single and looking for love, then guess what, so are black men. The discussion needs to include both parties. Harper pointed out that the topic question of the forum left out the single man.
2. Smoke and Mirrors. Hill said at the start of the symposium that the big issue is saving the black family. Perfect example: Shepherd, a single mom, says she needs a man to show her little son how to use the bathroom standing up. Boys need men to show them how to be men.
I hate to get all conspiracy theory-esque, but there seems to be an agenda being pushed here. Somebody somewhere doesn't want to see strong black family units. Remember a few years ago, the hype was that all black men were in prison, and then it was all black men were on the down low, and then it was most young black adults had AIDS. Now, it's successful black women can't find a husband. If the media can convince black women that there are no black men out there or that they don't want them, black women will begin to play that out in their lives. Sisters start feeling hopeless and viewing their men as trifling while brothers are left feeling rejected, unvalued and angry. How can a functional relationship ever emerge from this?