Here at lovedby.her, our mission has always been to properly showcase images of black queer love in full scope. And to tell your stories in a way that provides true acceptance, safety and representation. Over the past year, the ways in which we have reached out, connected and shared these stories has changed. But what hasn’t changed is the pure and genuine love that each interview allows us to experience. The ways in which our lovetelling couples are able to be so open, so vulnerable and so honest about the love, experiences and tribulations they have gone through in their relationships is unmatched.
And we knew the only way to properly celebrate the one year anniversary of our platform was to go back to where it all started: with you, your stories and the black queer love you share with one another.
LBH sat down with five black queer couples to talk about their stories of love and what it means to them to love her and them.
Experience a snippet of their love above, and read our full interactions with each couple below.
Veronica + Sade
How long have you all been together?
Veronica: Together for uhm 3 and a few chunk of months. We’ve known each other for 4 years exactly a month ago, or this month I guess.
Sade: Yeah, this month. Like this month maybe like 3 days ago, we met on the 23rd of June 2016.
Well, happy I just met you anniversary.
Sade: Thank you.
Veronica: We have a picture and everything.
Sade: Yes, but it was interesting because I was at my best friend's house and I think I was just talking about getting ready for the Beyonce concert, it was like Formation I think, yeah.
Veronica: My story starts a few days before.
Sade: Yes (both laugh) you want to go with your part first?
Veronica: Okay, so, I don't know how I found Sade on Twitter, through Detroit’s Art Twitter, but we got there. I saw that she was talking about going to the Beyonce concert and I had already gone with my ex-girlfriend which is a whole different story. But I wanted to go because I was going to try to meet her and get floor seats. Mind you, at this point, I made like $9.13 an hour so I don't know how I was going to get those seats but I was going to figure it out and I was going to talk to her, that didn’t happen obviously (both laugh). But that’s okay, we saw Beyonce later together.
Sade: We did.
Veronica: For on the run 2. Right? Yeah. Anyways, she DM’d me on twitter to come and see her. So I packed up my car and I was just like I’m going to go meet this girl that I don't know and it's going to be fine, it's going to be great. (both laugh). So, her friend was there, who I later found out actually sent the DM, it was not Sade. So, shout out to Chloe, who is the reason that we are here together today. And then we hung out. I told a bunch of my weird random facts and she thought it was really cute and here we are.
Sade: Yes and lots of smoking was involved.
Veronica: Oh, we smoke so much weed. Which is a random fact about our relationship.
Sade: But, yeah, I saw her on Twitter. She was like dropping subliminals (when I was) at my friend’s house. And that's when I was like look at her she's so cute. Kind of feels weird now looking back on it cus like she has the same vibe as me, so it feels kind of narcissistic in a way. But like she just has a really good energy. And I was nervous and my best friend was just like alright well, give me your Twitter, I’m just going to write her and ask her to come over to our crib and just smoke and chill and hangout. And I was just like, okay. It was very weird, she had like a Florida number, I’m like why does she have a Florida number, she live in Detroit. (both laugh). Sus. But, when she got there it was just wonderful, we talked about random Russian roller coasters and how they are deadly. Our friend is a photographer and so she took a picture of us side by side and it's just always cool to look back on that photo and see how we’ve changed and grown since then.
Veronica: We had a lot less hair.
Sade: Yes (both laugh). But yeah that's our story you know nothing too crazy.
What makes you feel valued in your relationship?
Veronica: I would say that I feel like when we make small decisions or big decisions it’s not a competition to see who is right. It's more let's hear all of the sides and why you think that would be the best idea and then sometimes it's just I'll let you take the reins because I know you know better about it.
Sade: For me, I think what makes me feel valued is knowing that V understands me no matter what state I’m in and that's something that's hard to come by. Like I've dated girls before and it just boils down to the understanding that she has me, even when I’m not at my best, even when I am at my best. There's a sense that she can adapt to whatever that is, and just be comforting even if it’s good, it’s bad, it’s urgent, she adapts so well, and that makes me feel valued.
How does it feel to be loved by her?
Sade: Phenomenal. I don't know, it’s gonna kind of make me cry. But like I can’t really describe how it makes me feel other than just vulnerable, like it makes me continuously want to be vulnerable and continuously share where I’m at and how I’m changing and I just feel like I’m at home.
Veronica: I feel like loving you is safe, but not in the horrible negative connotation that people put on it. I know that I will be okay, we will figure it out together. When I lost my job the first time, I was really nervous about it but I also felt like we would figure it out and we did. And then when you lost your job we figured it out together. When we moved to New York, we figured it out together. And you know, I just lost my job again and I know that we will figure it out somehow, because that's just what we do.
Sade: That is what we do.
Veronica: We decided that this is what we are going to do, it's work but it's not work that I’m dreading. I want to work on myself and be better for you. I want to be my best self with you.
Sade: Yeah, same.
Veronica: Aw. (both laugh)
Shanay + Akeria
How long have you guys been together and how did you meet?
Shanay: Well, we started dating in early 2019. Intiatilly we met in the great social media world and finally decided to meet up and went on a date and that was that. We were together from that point on. (both laugh)
In what ways do you keep the romance alive in your relationship?
Shanay: Wow, we basically got married, went on our honeymoon then unfortunately we ended up in the middle of a global pandemic. (laughs) So all the things ya know, going out on dates and trying new things together and living that newlywed life kind of got derailed, so we have had to get a little more...
Shanay: ...to keep the romance alive. We’ve just been getting outside, and working out together and really trying to pull together and reach mutual goals, I could say is a way that's been keeping us connected during this time.
Akeria: Yes (in agreement). Cooking, trying to have little romantic nights just for ourselves where we just spend time together, no electronics or anything like that. Lot of laughter, a lot of joke cracking. I think that’s a major part of our relationship, we have a really good time, we have fun.
So, wait, let's just backtrack a little bit. When in 2019 did you start dating and got married?
Shanay: We started dating in early 2019 and we got married on October 12th of 2019.
Akeria: Yeah it was quick (laughs). We both knew what we wanted.
Shanay: Yeah, we had a very small ceremony. We had 6 guests and we got married at a bed and breakfast and had a little mini wedding and it was amazing.
What was the moment you guys knew, okay this is the one, I’m going to marry her in a couple months and that’s just going to be it?
Shanay: For me, I know I always felt stifled in relationships. I would always say, to my friends and my family, I would always say “oh, I would love to be able to love and be free.” And with her loving me I feel more free than I ever felt. Which is the total opposite of what people think of when they think of settling down in a relationship. And just for me, that was just a sign. The fact that I had her love and I had her commitment, and she had the same from me. Yet I felt more in touch with myself, more centered and more free than I ever felt ever. So, I knew that it was just something that I wasn’t willing to give up, that it was something that I wanted for the rest of my life.
Akeria: I knew pretty much probably after the first or second date. She was just so like relaxed and calming and I knew that I needed someone like that in my life because sometimes, I’m relaxed myself, but sometimes I can go overboard. She’s like that calming spirit or person for me, when I am excited or overwhelmed she’s like “alright, it's not that big of a deal” you know. So, I knew pretty much after the first or second date.
Shanay: It was a very adult decision, nobody did a big proposal or anything like that. I don’t how the conversation came about but it ended up really being us making a decision to move forward and get married.
How does it feel like to be loved by her?
Shanay: It feels like freedom. After feeling so weighed down for so many years and it just feels like a steady stream. I feel like with her I don't have to assume a certain role or a certain position. I’m allowed to be who I need to be in that moment, as well as she is and we can both adjust and give each other what we need at that time. So, sometimes, I’m the planner, I’m the romancer, the motivator but then there are times where I don’t have it in me to be that and she steps up and she’s that. So, there is just this constant flow of energy and love between the two of us and it just feels free to be loved by her.
Akeria: For me, it feels it’s safe, it’s fun, it’s comfortable. It’s not a feeling of anxiety, it’s just like a feeling of a breath of fresh air knowing that I can come to her and ask her a question and we can work things out. Just like having that partner to run things by like “Am I crazy in thinking this or in doing that '' especially with work and with friendships and running things past her and stuff like that. It feels really good to have somebody, a partner, a friend, you know what I mean, to just talk to, communicate with and just share life with.
Ryann + Kim
How long have you guys been together and how did you guys meet?
Kim: Three years.
Ryann: We met at an event. (turns to Kim) That’s what you want to say at an event?
Kim: I mean, yeah. We kinda met before that.
Ryann: Okay, yeah, we met a couple times actually before officially...
Kim: But officially, at like, what was it? (looks at Ryann) Like Hip Hop night?
Ryann: (nods in agreement)
And when did you guys know that you were in love?
Kim: Okay, for me, I don’t want to say I was in love instantly but I knew. It sounds strange when you say that to people but I instantly recognized her energy. I recognized her as being somebody that would be important in my life. I didn't know at what level, whether it was platonic or companionship, I just knew, and I was instantly drawn to her. I knew that I needed to know her, to be close to her, that I already knew her in some capacity. For me, it was kinda like “yeah, that’s her.” Let’s see what we can do so that she knows it’s her.
Ryann: I knew I was in love, I want to say it was our 4th date. It was like our first getaway date and we went to the beach. And there was a moment where we were in the restaurant and it’s like my heart just jumped out and like jumped on her plate or something, I just felt like a spark. That’s when I realized I was possibly falling in love with her and I was like “okay, I think I love her.” Cus she just smiled at me and she told me a joke and I was like “oh my god, she is so cute, so loving, she’s so attentive.” It just felt right.
Kim: I felt that.
Ryann: You ain’t felt that.
Kim: I did (both laugh) cus I told you like “I felt that.”
Ryann: Yeah, whatever.
What makes you feel valued in your relationship?
Kim: I don't know, I guess, how attentive she is. Just all around caring for me on all levels like emotionally, spiritually, physically. It’s just a full circle of just being attentive at every level whether it’s me needing to be babied or fussed at or a sounding board or like a creative partner. Just being very attentive on all levels from friendship all the way up to romantic partners.
Ryann: I think it’s just the same [for me]. I think because we just mesh so well it goes from friendship to like a creative consulting to spiritual to a foodie buddie, it's everything and it just all fits so naturally. We just naturally click. Ya know? So, it’s really us being attentive to each other. We know when someone is going through something, we know if somebody is having a rough day. If you are feeling sad, this is what I can do for you, stuff like that that’s like the solid foundation of me and Kim honestly.
What does it feel like to be loved by her?
(looks at eachother and laugh)
Ryann: It’s like poetry in motion.
Ryann: It’s like colors, tastes, sound.
Kim: It’s like when the sun rises, like you know you can hear music in the sunrise, it’s kinda like that. Weird to explain, it’s warm, comforting, reassuring, safe, exciting.
Lauren + Lundin
How long have you all been together and how did you guys meet.
Lundin: We’ve been together for about two years and thirteen days to be exact. We just had our anniversary. And we met in high school to be honest. So we’ve known each other for a little over, I’d say about eight or nine years that we’ve known each other.
Lauren: She slid in my DMs
Lundin: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I slid in the DMs (laughs). That’s how we got back [in touch] and started dating.
What makes you feel valued in your relationship?
Lauren: So for me, I feel so valued in this relationship because I’m not only heard but I’m respected. When I bring anything to her attention about my feelings or about how I feel about anything, she listens and immediately I see that it’s being put into effect. A lot of people in a lot of relationships, people say “oh, well, I’m sorry” or “oh it won't happen again” and then it does because they are not really listening to you, they're just saying in the heat of the moment what they want you to hear. But she actually listens and then puts it into action. Also, she knows like, if something is going on with me, especially being a creative and also going through like mental health stuff, she is aware when I’m down. [And is always like] okay this is what we need to do to bring you back up to yourself when you're the most productive and most efficient overall.
Lundin: For me, I feel the same. I just feel like she's there. And I feel as though when I want to talk about certain things she listens. I don’t feel like she wants to change me in any aspect of myself. I feel like she is happy with me, as well as I am happy with myself as well. She’s the person I can talk to about anything that I might be going through, you know, or anything that’s bothering me, or even just about keeping myself up in high spirits. I just feel like she has always been that motivator and she’s always been like my number one fan. You know, she’s always been there as a person that I can always just come to.
How does it feel to be loved by her?
Lundin: To be loved by her, I feel like it is very easy. I don’t feel like she tries to make me out to be any different than who I am and who I give as a person. I feel like she’s always in my corner, whether it's good or bad. She’s the type of person that if I’m doing something wrong she will let me know, she’s not going to have me out here looking crazy or just doing anything. I know she has my back all of the time.
Lauren: And for me, being loved by her is very refreshing. I’m 26 and this is my first healthy relationship where we have open communication and where we are completely honest. Whether it's going to hurt somebody's feelings [or not], we are still being very honest and upfront with each other. Very intentional about what we want out of our relationship and the goals that we have set separately for ourselves and for our relationship. So, it’s extremely refreshing to be loved by her.
Morgan + Johnnie
How long have you all been together and how did you guys meet?
Morgan: We met on Tumblr five years ago, been together for four years and have married for three.
At what moment did you guys realize, okay this is my partner for life, let’s get married?
Johnnie: We became friends when we met on tumblr but after we met in person it was like “ooo I think this is my person.” But it was a little complicated because there were...
Morgan: I was engaged to somebody else.
Oh. (all laugh)
Johnnie: So for me, it was like, this is my person [and] I need to have them in my life. So, if they are just in my life in the capacity of a friend then that’s what I’m going to do. It wasn’t until they broke up with their ex and I was single that we actually explored a relationship.
Morgan: We’ve been joined at the hip ever since.
So you guys were friends before you were lovers? Did you feel like that was an important part of your relationship?
Morgan: I think so.
Johnnie: I’m not sure if it was important, it was just how it happened.
Morgan: I think it’s important though.
Johnnie: Now that I’m thinking, I’m glad that it happened that way because when we met I don't think we were right for each other then.
Morgan: Yeah, we wouldn’t have been together as long, if we had jumped into a relationship right off the bat.
In what ways do you all keep the romance alive in your relationship?
Johnnie: This one is harder for me than for her. I’m starting to learn to be more mindful of the little ques that she’s giving me. If I hear her say something more than once, I kinda keep my eye on whatever that was. Like last week she kept saying that she wanted to go on a picnic, so we weren’t doing anything, I told her let’s just go get something to eat, we will find a park and have a picnic. So for me, it’s just being more mindful of showing her that I love her.
Morgan: And for me it’s more so listening to what Johnnie is saying and not saying. Being gentle when needed and being more kind and soft with Johnnie. I can be quite a lot, a lot of the time, so I have to tone myself down so Johnnie feels comfortable and loved.
How does it feel to be loved by them?
Morgan: It feels like home and I feel full everyday. I may not be happy all day everyday but I’ve felt full and happy every single day for the past four years.
Johnnie: When I was thinking about that question, my first thing was like I feel full. I feel completed. But I also know that I was a whole person by myself but being together I definitely feel like I’ve been completed. I also feel like there is so much depth to this relationship that I still have room to grow.
Morgan: Yeah, that’s another thing that I’m big on is growth. I still feel like we have a lot of growing to do even though we have grown a lot in the past four years but it doesn't feel like we have hit that plateau yet it just feels like we keep growing better in our relationship.
Written by: Kee Simone, LBH Editor-in-Chief (@thebaddiegalore)