What Does Black Love Mean to You?

Share your personal stories — funny, sad and everything in between — about Black love.,

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In her 1968 poem, “Nikki-Rosa,” Nikki Giovanni wrote: “they never understand / Black love is Black wealth and they’ll / probably talk about my hard childhood / and never understand that / all the while I was quite happy.”

In collaboration with Modern Love, the Black History, Continued team is seeking personal essays that explore the question: What does the idea of Black love mean to you today?

We want to know whether you have experienced a Black love story that illuminates how Black people exist in this moment. Does race play a big role in who you date and who you don’t? Do you want to challenge the notion of “Black” love even existing? How has Black love affected your friendships?

The Modern Love column has many examples of powerful stories about Black love. Whether you’re asking Who’s Allowed to Hold Hands?, like Nicole Dennis-Benn; describing What I Learned From My Instagram Crush, like Jared Wood; or Confronting Race, Religion and Her Heart, like Lilian Oben, we want to hear from you.

Tell us a love story from your own life. We seek to publish the most surprising, funny or heart-wrenching entries we receive.

  • We are seeking honest, personal essays of 1,200-1,500 words.

  • Visuals and audio that illustrate your story (text messages, social media screenshots, voice notes, voice mail messages, short video recordings or similar) are welcome.

  • Accounts must be entirely true. Do not use pseudonyms (including for yourself), composite characters or invented situations or scenes. There are no exceptions to this rule.

  • Accounts must be previously unpublished. Work that has appeared online — on another news website, a personal blog, Medium or elsewhere — is considered previously published.

  • Accounts will be edited in consultation with writers.

  • The deadline is Sept. 26, 2021. You must be at least 18 years old to submit.

  • Your submission will not be published unless we contact you first. Reasonable measures may be taken to protect the privacy of those written about, including removing names and details but not changing names or details.

Black Love Today

For updates along the way, follow Veronica Chambers (@vvchambers), The Times’s Narrative Projects Editor, and Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff (@charliebcuff), The Times’s Black History, Continued Senior Staff Editor, on Twitter, and sign up for the Black History, Continued newsletter.

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