A Millennial Love Story: How Common Backgrounds Built An Unbreakable Bond
A conversation with Camille and Jamal.
This piece is part of a 28-day series celebrating modern black love among millennials. It was created by Chuck Marcus and Michelle Nance, exclusively distributed by Blavity.
Her: Camille George | 29 | Financial Counselor
Him: Jamal George | 29 | Fitness Operations & Events Entrepreneur
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Relationship Status: Married | 2 Years
Both Brooklyn born and raised, Camille and Jamal found comfort in their similar Trinidadian backgrounds. They were raised in the same church and as teenagers crossed paths as Camille’s brother played on the same youth basketball league as Jamal.
One day, Camille came to cheer on her sibling when Jamal spotted her and let a teammate know he thought she was cute. He was put on the spot and had no choice but to approach her. Even at 15 years old Jamal had an entrepreneurial mindset so he handed her his business card and got back to balling.
Over the next two years the young love birds would build a friendship strengthened by their commonality while also keeping things on the low knowing they couldn't let their incredibly strict families know they were dating.
Over time they were able to be more open about their relationship and over the course of 13 years they’ve grown from friends to lovers and are now married and soon expecting to start their own family not far from where their own roots lie right in Brooklyn.
What does black love mean to the black community?
Jamal: Caribbean culture is heavy on food. I think that’s one of the things that I was looking for in a partner. I like things like callaloo, pelau, curry, doubles. I was looking for someone with those qualities and I wanted to marry someone from the Caribbean without even knowing it. The fact that she has two Trinidadian parents, that strengthened our relationship throughout the years because we had a lot to talk about.
Camille: A lot of people laugh at the fact that he acts like my dad, it was nice to find someone who understands where I came from, the strict household. There are a lot of guys who would be so over me and having to hide from dating me. He was patient and he understood how Trini people get down.
When you start a family are you guys going to be like your parents?
Jamal: Yesterday was her birthday and we had a game night and we made a major announcement that she’s 9 weeks pregnant. To answer the question, for me it’s a no. I’m going to have an open relationship with my kids and be super transparent with them. As a child coming up in a Caribbean home they’d be like, “stay out of grown folks business”. As a curious kid I would still try to look for the answers and I want my home to be the first place my kid can find the answers. Not saying that my parents did a horrible job, but I want to have more of an open book and transparency is key especially in this social media age. Back in the day it was easy to say “stay out of grown folks business” but grown folks business is everywhere these days. To be an open book is key to me for our soon to be family.
Camille: Yes and no. I might be a little strict, but I will be a little more open. As far as the Caribbean strictness, I’ll be a little more gender neutral. A lot of times in the Caribbean household girls have to do certain things and guys get to do certain things. My brothers got away with murder. I felt like I should be able to go out too. I feel like it should be fair.
Jamal: I’m probably going to be that strict dad if we have a girl.
How did you know you were ready to commit to each other?
Jamal: I definitely have tons of respect for her parents, so I asked at a random coffee shop on Nostrand Ave. I think with any relationship that you can see evolve from different aspects from friends to dating, to having a serious bond, I kind of knew all along. Sometimes I wasn’t the ideal person just me being immature caused us to have tough times in our relationship.
Camille: I knew because we became best friends and we’ve been through so much together and I just couldn’t be without him.
What’s the hardest part about being a millennial in a relationship?
Camille: The older couples judging how we live or how our marriage is. When we first got engaged a lot of older people were like “why are you guys getting married already?” or they would ask how old we were. They would give you advice based on all the negative aspects of marriage. I believe millennials are a little more chill and relaxed and can judge on our own.
Jamal: There’s a lot of opinions that get thrown at you because of other people’s experience. Just because they went through that doesn’t mean we’re going to go through that. A lot of people throw their fears on young couples and for us, like Camille said, it’s more of a laid back experience. The biggest difference in our relationship is now living together, we didn’t live together before we got married.
What are you guys doing to lay the groundwork for your family?
Jamal: What I think is important is entrepreneurship, building a brand and a company and having something that the next generation can carry on. Building something that can live on after we’re gone and they can have something.
Camille: It’s starting new traditions so that they carry on within our family. In my family I’m the one who plans all the get togethers. I want to take the torch from our older family members.
How do you maintain your careers and your social life while balancing marriage?
Jamal: I struggle with that and she calls me out on it and when she does I’m like okay I need to get my shit together. It sucks that you have to wait til the point that you’re being called out but I try to plan dinner nights and different dates to create work life balance.
Camille: I’m also heavily involved in his event experiences, so I don’t feel left out. I’m not that social, he’s the social butterfly and I’m the homebody, family type of person.
How do you continue to build a love that lasts?
Camille: Open communication and trying not to take things too personal. I laugh at everything and he has a lot of patience so it works out, we’re really good friends. I don’t like to argue so I guess that’s a win for him so if he’s annoyed or over it he’s like “you got it”.
Jamal: It goes back to that open book policy at the core for our friendship. There’s nothing that I can’t tell her and I know she feels the same. I think that helps us to evolve and love and will help us in the future to have that open line of communication.
If you could sum up love in one word what would it be and why?
Camille: Love is being patient. You have to take the time to understand others’ perspectives and opinions. Its really funny how you may think one way and another person thinks another way and they don’t mean to be offensive but you just have to be open to other people’s perspectives.
Jamal: Selfless, being able to put someone before yourself I think is a true testament to love and knowing her needs and wants and being able to put my feelings aside and knowing it’s not always about me.