Black Love 101

The climate of today's world would lead you to believe that love should not be a priority. I've felt pressure as a queer black woman to let my activism and advocacy take priority over love, intimacy, and joy. In doing that, I've done myself a huge disservice. I've found that for Black Love to flourish in my life, I need back up. There have been songs, and poems, stories, and quotes that have allowed me to learn to love in brand new ways.

1. Zora Neale Hurston | This quote taught me to allow love to be flexible. When we let love take the shape of it's container, you will see that it shifts in shape and stance as you experience it. It expands and contracts and with each iteration we must be open to the way it manifests in our lives.

2. James Baldwin | For love to be fully present, you have to trust the vulnerability of your truth. You cannot love if you are unwilling to show the portions of yourself you most loathe and unsure of. This transparecy will save you.

3. bell hooks | So much can thrive when we choose to grasp hold of one another.

4. Langston Hughes | I know that I often forget to hold tight to my connection to the earth. The elements of nature has a way of reminding us of ourselves. It re-imagines our dreams and hopes, and allows us to feel powerful.

5. Lucille Clifton | Lucille is great at hommaging. I'm sure that's not a word, but you know what i mean. She allows us to love hair (and hips) in brand new ways.

6. Audre Lorde | Whew! This simply stands alone. If this ain't love...

7. Saul Williams | Take the opportunity to declare how love resonates in your life. But to truly understand it, you have to be willing to experience life, not just what's in front of you, but what you dig for. Interrogate how love manifests, and see that there is so much more.

Eris Eady is a freelance writer, and intersectional advocate from Cleveland, Ohio. She is a grad student at Case Western Reserve University.

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