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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts Celebrate Their Love Story as 1st Same Sex Couple on Essence Cover

‘We have such a natural compatibility that we can be around each other, work together and hang out all day,’ Nash said.

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Jessica Betts and Niecy Nash attend The 15th Annual CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute at American Museum of Natural History on December 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CNN. A WarnerMedia Company. All Rights Reserved.)
Jessica Betts and Niecy Nash attend The 15th Annual CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute at American Museum of Natural History on December 12, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CNN. A WarnerMedia Company. All Rights Reserved.)
Photo: Mike Coppola (Getty Images)

If you follow actress/comedian Niecy Nash on social media, you are no stranger to photos and videos of her and wife Jessica Betts sharing their love. Now the couple is revealing how their relationship evolved in the March/April Essence cover story. That’s right, Niecy and Jessica are the first same-sex couple to appear on the cover of Essence. I’ll get to that in just a second, but let’s talk about how happy and in love Niecy and Jessica are in the interview.

“We’re extremely compatible.” Niecy says. “Sometimes you can be attracted to somebody but don’t have a lot in common. But we have such a natural compatibility that we can be around each other, work together and hang out all day. If there was a 25th hour, we would be right up in it.”

I don’t judge how people label or identify themselves. One: All that matters is if they’re happy. Two: It’s just not my business. However, if you just need to know, Niecy and Jessica don’t believe in labels.

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“The least of my attraction is gender,” says Niecy. “What I was and am still attracted to is Jessica’s soul. She was the most beautiful soul I had ever met in my life. Now that I’ve experienced it, I can’t imagine going through life without it.”

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One of the most poignant moments of the interview comes when Niecy says “she’s the happiest she’s ever been,” because “Jess truly sees her.” That’s beautiful for her. Whether it’s in a romantic or platonic relationship aren’t we all just looking for a person who gets us?

“It’s to be accepted for the truth of who you are, all the way around, good, bad or indifferent,” Niecy explains. “It’s where someone sees your past, your pain, your bullet holes, your stab wounds, whatever you got in a bag over your shoulder when you show up, and they say, ‘I see it all, and I still love and receive you.’ I feel like the love that I receive from her is custom, as opposed to off the rack,” Niecy adds. “I feel like the assignment happened in the spirit realm before we ever knew about it.”

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The feature is accompanied by gorgeous photos of Niecy and Jessica displaying their love story, something that Essence is just now showcasing in 2022. As thrilled as I am that the couple is on the cover giving inspiration to the LGBTQ+ community, I can’t ignore that it took the magazine so long to get there.

Essence’s first issue was in May of 1970. So it took 51 years to finally get a same sex couple on the cover. Even if we discount the ‘70s and ‘80s because “those were a different time,” you’re telling me that at no point since the ‘90s there has never been a high profile same-sex couple worthy of cover representation? I’m not trying to be divisive, but we call out white publications all the time for making a big deal of Black representation, which means we need to do the same here. That being said, I’m truly happy for Niecy and Jessica.