Honestly….. The Difficulties Millenial African-American Women Encounter While Navigating the Nuances of Dating

By Jasmine Kelly & Tekisha Rice

Honestly… I have never in my life heard a song that immediately resonated with me as soon as I heard the words but that is the effect that Summer Walker’s, “Girls Need Love” had on me when I first heard it. Listening to the song I felt so relieved because finally, finally, a singer put words to sentiments that women millennials, specifically African-American women millennials feel when it comes to sex, love, and dating. Don’t get it twisted, I am a huge Rihanna fan but being a “Savage” does not always fit the mood nor is that lifestyle for everyone. Here it is, a song by a black woman for black women sincerely stating what we need; love and understanding.

If you are like me, especially in the age of social media, dating and affection can seem rather difficult to navigate. Despite the benefit of being able to essentially pre-screen people before actually meeting up, online dating comes with its own set of unstated social rules. First, women spend time perfecting their profiles. Then, once you match with someone you have to determine whether to respond, in what time frame, and with what information. If you are too forward, you are thirsty yet if you do not do enough, you are considered difficult. Aside from that, add being a black woman to the equation. Black women have to navigate stereotypes about their gender and sexual roles as well as deal with racism in online dating.

I know that you have heard this before, but yes, black women have to do everything. We graduate from college, we find careers and at times serve as mental and emotional resources for our families. However, there is always a major grey area when it comes to romantic relationships for the very same reasons that were just mentioned. Based on personal experiences and conversations that I have with my girlfriends, it is hard for black women to find someone on their level. Some have even suggested that in order to meet their needs, black women must consider dating outside of their race more strongly. For many black women, dating outside of their race is the last resort as some want to date partners of their same race. However, in the age of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry; more and more black women have come to terms with the thought that their knight in shining armor may not be a black man. Like our sis Meghan, black women are now making our own rules when it comes to romantic relationships and defining ourselves for ourselves.

Honestly…I just need no rules. I need no expectations. We just need space to be ourselves and someone willing to be patient. Freedom to ask for what we want and to request men meet our needs. Freedom to be strong and the expectation that our strength will not be confused as a substitute for interpersonal interaction. Freedom to initiate sex, without assumptions or stigma please. Honestly… we just want to be respected.

Jasmine Kelly and Tekisha Rice are contributing writers for the Pedestal Project, LLC.

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