• Tasha Butler

Regal Lady Spotlight: Shannon Nicole of The Young, Black, Love Blog

Young Love….so sweet, so innocent…..such an experience! I can remember singing songs like Winner, Ain’t No Way, and Is This Love from Chris Brown’s first CD. I PROMISE you that I dedicated half of the album to my on again off again (currently on….hopefully now and foreverrrr lol) boyfriend. But what happens once we mature? Does that “young love” die out, or does it get stronger?

Lucky for all of us love birds out there I was able to catch up with the creator of The Young Black Love, Shannon Nicole and pick her brain a little. Young Love is great BUT Young Black Love is like the best thing since tacos and tequila (what? Ya’ll thought I was going to say sliced bread #deathtocarbs). Everyone, I MEAN EVERYONE wants a piece of melanin by their side, especially those Kardashians. *side eye* . Check out what this newlywed had to say about relationships in our current day and age.

First I want to know what inspired you to create The Young Black Love blog?

The YBL was inspired by the dire need for images and stories of young black couples who have committed to making it work. I was personally disheartened by the flux of affairs, "miserable marriages" and divorce in media and decided to do something about it. The YBL is a safe space where couples and singles alike can visit to get a refreshing take on what it means to be young and committed in the millennial generation.

Recently you and you husband were married (congrats again)! What were some of the lessons learned and topics discussed in your premarital counseling?

Great question. Our premarital counseling class played an integral role in our preparation for marriage. One of the biggest lessons we learned was the concept of "dying to self." We learned that time and time again, we will have to push our naturally selfish needs aside, put our partner first instead. This requires a lot of maturity and is waaaaay easier said than done. When each person continues to die to self, both people in the relationship are taken care of. Another lesson we learned was God's original design for marriage. He wants us to leave a legacy as a couple. We are supposed to make an impact on the world, as a union. So we are thinking of ways that we can make positive changes together. As a team, how can we contribute to society using our spheres of influence? Lastly, the concept of the husband as a servant leader was a huge takeaway from our marriage prep class. I encourage all the fellas out there to read up on that.

Often times we hear, show him you can be a wife. What are you suggestions for becoming a wife and not staying a wifey?

So this question made me cringe a little. I'm not sure that the mindset of "I need to prove I can be a wife" is a healthy one. If a guy sees you for who you are, loves and respects you, and most of all, believes that he can love you better than anyone else can, then he will hopefully take the initiative to make you his wife. Putting on a show or doing things for the sole purpose of proving that your "wifey material" is just that, a show. The right guy will love you for you who naturally are, not for who you think he wants you to be.

How do you think young black love is portrayed in the media...more specifically reality television?

We’ve gone from Florida and James to Martin and Gina and now we’re left with Josline and Steebie….something clearly isn’t adding up. Mmmm, don't get me started. In today's media, especially on reality television, young black love is often portrayed as a casual hook-up. Commitment - well real commitment - is an anomaly. It's all about who had an affair with who, how many women you slept with this week, and the lack of "loyalty" (thanks Chris Brown) between men and women. Furthermore, young black women are often portrayed as"thirsty" or desperate for a man. Men are often portrayed as anti-monogamists. Shows like Blackish are great because they show us what a healthy marriage might look like, including the occasional arguments and disappointments. We are hungry for more positive, relevant role models of healthy relationships and that's where theyoungblacklove.com comes in.

Social Media...deal breaker or relationship builder?

Both, depending on how much power you give it. My husband and I use social media mainly for our own individual enjoyment but we also tag each other in funny posts or when new music is released. We honor each other by not following "IG Kings and Queens." We also try not to air out our dirty laundry online. Social media easily becomes a deal breaker when that happens. Also, tracking Bae's likes, i.e. social media stalking es no bueno.

What do you think young Black couples can learn from older Black couples?

Young black couples, and young couples in general, can learn to KEEP GOING, even when times are rough. We are a generation addicted to convenience. It's too easy for us to walk out when things are less than ideal. We have social media, online dating, and essentially the world at our fingertips. We are "on to the next one" when the relationship actually requires some effort on our end. Older Black couples can show us the power of persistence and not giving up. Furthermore, by sharing their stories, they can help normalize some of the challenges that we face in our young relationships. For me at least, once I find out I/we are not the only ones struggling with something, I feel a sense of relief. Like ok, they went through the same thing we are going through and still found a way to make it work. So we can too if we're willing to do the work!

How do you know you’ve found “the one”?

Ah, the magic question. From the couples that I've interviewed, many say they knew they found "The One" when they saw how genuine their partner's love was for them. Many couples also mention the selflessness that their partner displayed, no only toward them, but toward their family and friends as well.

Any last words or new things we should watch out for in 2016 for The Young Black Love?

Yes! If you know of any engaged or newly married couples, please direct them to our site! We are beefing up our content this year to provide real, valuable and honest insight on young black relationships. Also, if you are single and want to learn more about what romantic commitment looks and feels like, check us out! Research shows that many millennials, especially millennial males, did not have role models to demonstrate what a healthy marriage can be. Our site provides real-life, down-to-earth examples. You can subscribe at www.theyoungblacklove.com/subscribe for weekly posts. We also have a Facebook page!

What makes you a Regal Lady?

I am a Regal Lady because I still walk with my head held high despite life's consistent challenges. I value and respect myself, I love others freely and fully, and I use my voice to make a positive change in the world. Thank you for featuring me.

#BlackLove #YoungLove #Marriage #Relationship