Who will ever forget the first moment Barack and Michelle Obama took to the dance floor on the evening of the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball? Our president, dashing in his tuxedo, and our first lady, a vision of loveliness in white, were serenaded by Beyoncé to Etta James’ famous “At Last.” The rest of us reveled in a moment that symbolized the realized dream of a historically disenfranchised people, at last. Finally, the world could see that this is what America also looks like. And while we’re at it, this is what black love can look like, too.
We watched that initial inaugural dance, blinking back the last tears of joy from that day because yes—it was finally official that Barack and Michelle Obama were far more than a couple of buppie lawyers from Chicago. They were finally our country’s first African-American president and first lady. And even bigger, they adore one another. It was obvious. And magical.
I’m all for good fairy tales with happy endings, especially ones with black characters. But anyone who’s been in a long-term partnership for more than two seasons of Grey’s Anatomy knows that real love—of any color—requires tending to. So in the spirit of the first couple’s enduring love, enjoy our Valentine’s Day Black Love Gift Guide. It’s perfect for a new flame … or one that’s been burning for a while. Here’s to keeping that fire burning not just for the next four years (or even eight), but hopefully forever.
Meera Bowman-Johnson is a regular contributor to The Root.