Black Love “Intact”: The Problem With Our Reaction to Will and Jada’s “Divorce”

Posted by on Aug 23, 2011

Rumors, that were ultimately untrue, hit the web today that Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith had divorced. Almost immediately, people took to their Twitter and Facebook accounts to lament the potential dissolution of their marriage. “They were our best example of black love,” one user tweeted. “Jada and Will were the perfect couple. If they can’t make it, we’re all doomed,” tweeted another. “Now, the media’s going to go even harder on single black women than ever before.” Wait, what?!

Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith indeed seem to have a beautiful union and strong bond. They are supportive of each other’s careers. They’ve built a loving, blended family. They aren’t afraid to show their love with public displays of affection like hugs, kisses and even copped feels, no matter who is looking.

But if they are our only example of black love, we’re in trouble. As much as we commend and celebrate their relationship, we’ve only seen them in the public arena when they are very much “on” as is the standard for their careers as entertainers. So, who are we to judge their relationship as “perfect” or flawed? The truth is we have no idea what their private lives are like.

Jada Pinkett-Smith is not the representative for all black women nor should she be the “hope” for all single black women looking for a potential mate. What she is, is human.

By placing the burden of carrying the torch of “black love” squarely on Jada and Will’s shoulders, we are setting ourselves up for a disaster whether they stay married or not. Their alleged divorce shouldn’t be viewed as proof that black relationships don’t work or evidence that black women are doomed to remain single. We shouldn’t be imposing our private hopes, insecurities, desires and goals on two human beings, whose challenges and choices are personal and unique to only them.

As it turns out, Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s marriage is not in danger. They revealed in a statement via People.com: “Although we are reluctant to respond to these types of press reports, the rumors circulating about our relationship are completely false and our marriage is intact.”

Insert sigh of relief. Now that our gossip-induced meltdowns have come to an end, let’s stop making Will and Jada the representative for all black marriages—and while we’re at it, start working on our own relationships.

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