History Wedding Weddings

Why are couples still choosing to get married on plantations?

When it comes to marriage, there are so many wedding venues in the world to choose from. The list is endless and inexhaustible. Plantation weddings are an enigma to me, more so the people who opt to have venues there. It’s inexplicable to me. I cannot imagine people celebrating atop the bodies of humans who died enslaved, tortured, and in chains. Arguing that a venue is beautiful and perfect for your big day only further negates the atrocities and heinous history that is seeped in that place. It says, ‘I don’t care about what happened here because it doesn’t affect me.’

Only people in privileged positions forget about the horrendous events of slavery and take pictures where families were torn apart.

If a person were to have their wedding at Auschwitz the outrage would be gigantic. So, why isn’t the same level of respect given to plantation weddings? People vehemently speak out against concentration camps and history, but they have a tendency to remain silent on the history of slavery. No trauma is worse than the other, yet the disrespect is shown when one is honored over the other.

It’s 2020 now, can we please cancel plantation weddings?

How can you relive antebellum times and ignore the horrors that came with it? The Antebellum era was marked by slavery, the Civil War, and tension between abolitionists and supporters of slavery. That’s why Lady Antebellum changed their name.

It is impossible to find a stunning southern mansion that didn’t house slaves or hold a harrowing history that remains so pervasive. The legacy of slavery still echoes in our systems. So, I wonder what the desire is to have a wedding on a plantation. A place where not only the picturesque mansion still stands but slave quarters are also around the corner.

In 2012, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds got married at Boone Hall plantation, where black people were forced to harvest peaches and make bricks. They have shown support for Black Lives Matter by pledging $200,000 to the cause but have never publicly apologized. Their support is appreciated, but how can they move forward if they haven’t openly addressed past mistakes?

Pictures of their wedding can’t be found on the internet and Pinterest has put in place restrictions on plantation weddings on their site. Though they are still searchable you may be found in violation of their guidelines. Pinterest commented on this decision and said, “Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things.”

“Weddings should be a symbol of love and unity. Plantations represent none of those things.”

Plantation houses promoting these sites of human rights violations as ‘the best day of your life’ is a slap in the face. It’s insensitive, disgusting and perpetuation of the legacies of slavery that run rampant in institutions. These places should be relegated to purely historical sites. Museums that tell the story of what really happened in these places. Not just southern propaganda of a time when people drank sweet tea and courted one another.

A wedding venue may seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. But, these actions are offensive, ignorant, and hurtful to the Black community. The disregard for the tragedy that was slavery rings loud when people say ‘I do’ at plantations.

Tech Now + Beyond

Whatsapp keeps me from being lonely and friendless in my 20s

My morning routines go like this: I wake up, stare up at the ceiling while trying to desperately reacquaint myself with world of the living, and then I finally roll over and check my Whatsapp messages.

After seven or eight hours of leaving my phone unattended, I always wake up to new messages. Checking them first thing in the morning has become a simple way of grounding myself before I prepare for the day.

WhatsApp is my messaging method of choice.

As the only person with a Samsung in a sea of iPhones, Whatsapp acts as the great equalizer amongst me and my friends. There’s no room for iMessage or lofty Apple-using superiority complexes there. I chat and type freely without any worry that my messages, emojis, or .gifs will get lost in translation while traveling between operating systems.

My Whatsapp itself is an extension of my personality.

I first downloaded it back in the summer of 2012. That was such a bittersweet time for me. I was just coming out of a depression haze that lasted right through the earlier months of that year.  I managed to kick that bout of depression in large part because of another popular social media app, Tumblr. Weirdly and surprisingly enough, through a hesitant interest in One Direction, I quickly fell headfirst into the fandom and met a ton of new people. Downloading Whatsapp was a way to stay in contact with all of my new friends (most of whom I still talk to today).

However, since then my Whatsapp space has managed to take on a life of its own.

It is filled with fandom group chats complete with punny names that my long-suffering friends had no say in creating. There are also hastily recorded and muffled voice notes. As well as a media folder that is almost exclusively candid and blurry pictures of the latest Harry Styles sighting.

If someone wanted to learn the most about me in a quick period of time, my Whatsapp chats would be the best resource. They are the clearest representation of me and my relationship with my friends.

Attribute: image provided by the author

Look, maintaining friendships in your twenties is hard. This is a simple fact I couldn’t have learned until I started living them. My twenties have become a transient period that I had no idea how to prepare for. The people around me are also starting their own lives and careers. They are beginning to build roots for the very first time. It feels like with each new year comes a different friend of mine moving to a new city.

By the end of this summer alone, I’ll have had to say farewell to two of them.

My days of having hometown friends that I could call up and organize last minute trips to diners and beach boardwalks are long gone. Now, in order for us to all stay in touch, we have to make an active effort. We can’t use work and the physical distance between as an excuse for going months without speaking. We are forced to actually pick up the phone and reach out. This is where Whatsapp comes in.

I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve grabbed my phone during a period of total crisis or extreme excitement. Whenever anything significant happens in my life Whatsapp is my way to share it with these long-distance friends in an instant.

I may be a self-described introvert, but I’m also the kind of person who needs to feel connected to the few friends I do choose to keep in my circle. These friends frequently act as my support system and voice of reason.

Whatsapp acts a sort of security blanket. It’s comforting to know that I can reach out to my closest friends at any time regardless of country, state, or time zone. During a stage where our lives are constantly in flux, I’m grateful to have a tiny but powerful app that strengthens the bonds of my friendship with every hit of the “send” button.