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Love is ___.

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

The first episode of OWN's new television series Love Is ___. came on last night at 10 pm. Taking inspiration from the personal relationship of Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, the creators and producers of this show. Love Is ___ , a show about black love, following a modern day power couple in the 90s, with a few cameos from the couple now (as they've been married for 20 years). It's a story about the ups, the downs, the ins, and outs, of a relationship --- but most importantly it's about black love.

You may remember see this couples work in the production and writing of series such as Girlfriends, The Game, Being Mary Jane, and Black Lightning. Both together, and individually, they are known for their own take on the "cultural aesthetic," bridging the beauty of black culture, with film, making you smile, laugh, cry, and think about life itself, all at once.

Love Is ___
Tune in every Tuesday on the OWN Network Channel @ 10 PM

The show had me reflecting on my aspirations, my dreams, and what I believe that love is. It's message is powerful, it's bold, and it embraces every inch of blackness. But the thing that I value most, is that it's not just a show about love.

Here are a few takeaways from the show, and my own personal reflection:

1. Love is for the the dreamers. At first glance, you might assume that this is just another show for the hopeless romantics. But it has a message that is much more powerful than just talking about the "beauty of love" or people falling in love. This is a show for the dreamers .It's for the one's people call "crazy," because we actually believe we're going to change the world. It's for those of us in love with chasing after our dreams, actively working to get where we want to be in life. It's a reminder that when things seem out of reach, don't stop -- even when things get hard, if you love it, don't give up on it.

2. Love is something that can change you. The people around you, including the person you date, mess with, "talk to," whatever we're calling it these days, can change things for you. Relationships have the ability to impact you in good ways and in bad ways. The experiences might impact future decisions that you make or change your outlook on love altogether. My mom always says, "You never know what type of demons somebody else might be carrying around, trying to tack them onto your spirit." So it's important to be intentional when it comes to dating. Emotionally taxing and draining situations, or people, don't deserve our energy. We have a greater purpose we need to live up to. Wasting energy, time, emotions, etc. are all things you can't take back, and the choices you make can affect you -- for better or worse luv.

3. Love is something we all deserve. No matter what life has taken you through, you are deserving of love. Love doesn't have to be from the parent who wouldn't support you, a friend who didn't think your dreams were "normal," enough, or the partner you're trying to move forward with, love is something you deserve to give to yourself -- not just other people. In some reflection lately, I've been learning that often self-love is just what we need. Taking the time to pour into our selves, giving our spirit what it needs daily. It's important to find out how you need to be loving yourself. Whether that's treating yourself to a movie, spending some time meditating, talking to your family, or whatever it is for you, it's time that you deserve -- so make time for it. To learn more about your love languages, or the love languages of people in your life take The 5 Love Languages Quiz or the How We Love Quiz, to learn more about how you need love -- everyone gives & receives it differently.

4. Love is not easy. Oh, it's no walk in the park at all. Watching my grandparents, my parents, reading my bible, and looking at other couple around me, I've noticed that it's complicated. A relationship doesn't just thrive off of love alone. The thing is, love is not some feeling that disappears the next day because you're not "feeling it," anymore.

"Love is patient and kind, never jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love isn't selfish or quick tempered. It doesn't keep record in wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth but not in eveil. Love is always supportive, loyal, and trusting. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13: 4 -8

It's not controlling, it's not sexual, it's not a contract, it's not a competition, it's not something to check off for social media posts and it's not something to play with. Love is support, friendship, listening, freedom, trust, respect, understanding and consideration, it's communal (meaning that it takes mutual effort), and it's not prideful or full of your ego. To make love "work," it takes more than just feelings. It takes a want, a will, a passion, to put in the effort to make love last.

5. Love is something that still exists. As someone who grew up watching The Cosby Show, Martin, A Different World, Good Times, The Bernie Mac Show, and other black sitcoms, there was comedy, combined with a realness that we could all relate to, and an underlying theme of black love. It's nice to see another show showcasing black love in 2018 -- especially considering that it's inspired by a true story. Let's be real, not everyone has an example of everlasting love in their life, but just because you don't have the example doesn't make it any less real -- and doesn't count it off as something you shouldn't believe in or want for yourself. Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil's work in this series plans to showcase love in various aspects, from self-love, to familial love, and to love with a long lasting partner -- including all of its challenges.

The end of the episode ends with the character Yasir, twenty years into their marriage, telling us that when it comes to love, life, and God's will, that it's important to remember that "what will be, will be." God's timing is perfect. This reminder is a reassurance that what is for you, is for you. There's nothing you have to do, to get it, because it's been yours from the day you were born -- it's just going to take a little bit of life, time, and patience for you to get to it. The choices you make, the people in your life, and where you are right now, is all apart of God's plan -- for a greater purpose that you might not see yet. His words don't just apply to love, but it applies to our dreams, our families, and everything else going on right now.

Love is ___ a story about that old school love, a love a lot of us are looking for --- yet it's a love that, it seems like, this generation has given up on. We often get caught up in the mediated image of what #relationshipgoals seems like it should be. But in reality, love is different for everyone. But regarless, it's just what this world a little more of -- in all it's beauty, in all it's blackness, and in all of it's boldness.

Share with me in the comments what you think about the show, what love looks like for you, pictures of you and your boo, your dreams, or whatever you might be inspired to share.

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