Growing up biracial, a large portion of my life has been in trying to steady the seesaw between both of my cultures, while trying to get a firm grasp of what my Black and Mexican cultures can teach me. This past weekend, I had the pleasure to attend the wedding of one of my closest friends, experiencing black love in all its glory. I can honestly tell you that, up until the Obama’s sprang into pop culture and history, I had little to any knowledge of what black love was or could be. It wasn’t a definition I could look up, a picture I could find online, or something I could see in a hashtag on social media, but the love between Barack and Michelle Obama was a love I had not witnessed in my life so far.
My parents, along with the majority of the men on my father’s side, had an interracial relationship, so black love was not accessible to me – except in pop culture. For the longest time, I merely thought it was simply when two black people were in love, but I know now that’s barely a fragment of the bigger picture.
I’ve gotten to experience different weddings of every kind, but none were as memorable as this one. Experiencing a wedding through a cultural lens that I could truly connect with was something I had personally never been a part of. While my black side is still a map I’m deciphering and hoping to understand, I’d never anticipated being so impacted merely as a witness at a wedding I identified with. Seeing the couple make their vows at the wedding felt like meeting them for the first time – and felt like getting to know a side of me I had never known before.
This was the only time I attended a wedding in which the love was celebrated by all who knew the couple in such a deep, respectful and passionate manner. Guests and family member were so moved by this beautiful couple who exhibited mental, physical, and spiritual growth that could be felt by anyone in their presence. People who spoke on behalf of the couple were moved to tears and gripping speeches rejoicing in the bond they had together, and it was beautiful. Outside of how wonderful they were as individuals, their relationship was loved by all who expressed sentiments of memory, faith, and reverence for what they had built between them. The ambience was powerful and moving in a manner that you knew you were in the presence of something rare, this wasn’t just any other wedding.
Many guests who spoke on behalf of the couple praised their Black love, which was met by cheers, applause and tears from fellow attendees who acknowledged the couple represented marriage for all it could be. For the first time, I began to understand that Black love was not something to be defined, but that it was inherent in the couple: an embodiment of their strength, unification and intimacy on all levels. It could be felt deep within me, and it humbled me in a way I cannot truly define.