The idea of "Black Love" died a thousand internet deaths yesterday when news broke of the Amber Rose, Wiz Khalifa split. They appeared to be such a happy couple. He makes music for Black kids who smoke weed in Macy's dressing rooms and the adults who smoked weed in Macy's dressing rooms as kids, and she made twerk videos to his music. But appearances are just that. Appearances. And apparently they had been unhappy for a while. But it still comes as a shock to our sensibilities. If a bipster from Pittsburgh and a Cape Verdian stripper from Philly can't make it, who can?
I'm being kinda facetious here, but not really. The concept of a collective "Black Love" is ambiguous, arbitrary, and kinda, sorta ridiculous. But that doesn't prevent people from feeling like it's real. Or should be real. So when a prominent Black couple splits — and this includes celebrities and people within non-celebrity social circles — it's felt. Not by everyone, obviously. But there are people — women and men — who hear of a Khalifa/Rose split or the Carter's rumored marriage issues or the news that cute couple from church are getting a divorce and get legitimately bummed out by it. Not because of how happy they were for them, but because it gives them a little less hope that type of happiness is obtainable and sustainable.
Interestingly enough, it feels like the more likely someone is to be enamored with the concept of "Black Love" — at least in relation to celebrities and other couples they don't personally know — the more likely they are to be pessimistic about their own relationship lives. This is not a ground-breaking discovery. It makes perfect sense that people dissatisfied with their own relationship lives would latch on to a fabricated replication of how relationships should look and feel. But — and, before I continue, let me remind you this is just a theory (basically, if you accused me of pulling it out of my ass, I wouldn't deny it) — what I've also observed is that this dissatisfaction isn't internal. It's not them wondering if they'll ever be able to find a man/woman who likes them. It's them wondering if they'll ever be able to find a man/woman they'll actually like.
And this is the paradox. We (collectively) believe in Black Love. Or, want to believe, rather. But we (collectively) don't seem to like each other very much.