The topic of “black love” has been ever-present on my social media timelines over the past few weeks. Ebony Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux wrote a piece for Buzzfeed detailing her regrets about leaving Howard University without a significant other. The same week, pictures of Janet Mock’s wedding — a beautiful example of a black woman finding love — flooded Facebook. We tend to think of black love as an intimate and caring relationship between two black romantic partners, but in the wake of protests at The University of Missouri, Yale University, Ithaca College and more, I think it would be useful to frame the concept as a community-wide principle. While a #blackbae would definitely make enduring systemic racism easier, let’s extend black love to our brothers and sisters and foster holistic community care. Here are five ways to spread black love and take time for community healing:
  1. Community love night. If you’re on a college campus, organize a movie night with your fellow black students. Laugh, kick back and block out the hate for an hour or two.
  2. Hug your friends. For the past week, so many of us have felt helpless and depressed watching black students deal with the traumas of systemic racism. So if you see your black friends on the street or in class, give them a hug and let them know you’re there.
  3. Utilize group chat. Sometimes we go “incog-negro” when midterms come up or we feel overwhelmed, but checking in over text can go a long way. Send love digitally if you can’t do it in person.
  4. Log off. Have a community-wide social media pause. Get together, take a study break or do homework, but stay off of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for at least an hour a day. Taking time for yourself and community fellowship instead of entertaining internet trolls and bigots is a necessary exercise in black love.
  5. Organize a demonstration. Send love to the students battling racism on their college campuses by standing in solidarity with them. Fighting for liberation can also be a cathartic community activity.

What do you do to exercise black love? Let us know in the comments below!