*Episode 1 of OWN’s new series Black Love aired for the first time Tuesday, 8/29 and is already off to a great start. Black Love is now considered to be the network’s highest-rated unscripted series debut in more than four years streaming in 1.2 million total viewers.
Filmmaker’s Codie and Tommy Oliver set out to capture love stories from the Black community in hopes of answering the most asked question, “What does it take to make a marriage work?”
The two rounded up 10 of Hollywood’s influential couples to share where their love began.
Tia & Cory: Married 9 Years Tia and Cory shared the initial pressures surrounding marriage. They met on set of a movie they starred in together called “Hollywood Horror.” Cory knew he wanted to marry Tia, he just didn’t feel ready. He mentioned that he heavily leaned on his faith to step up and make an honest woman out of Tia. Cory didn’t have the means for a nice ring and felt others would have something to say about the frugal find. But he didn’t let it stop him. He knew he found a good thing and wasn’t going to allow his current situation to alter his lifetime expectation. Tia’s advice for a successful marriage is to have a realistic perspective. The two shared how various challenges throughout their relationship arose from their different upbringings. Nevertheless with the strength of each other both managed to learned to make it work “their” way. Together Tia and Cory use each other’s strengths and weakness’ to push through their marriage day by day.
Meagan & Devon : Married 4 Years
In the beginning, Devon wasn’t interested in Meagan. It wasn’t until the two met up again years later on set of Jumping The Broom where the two got to know each other on an intimate level; however, Meagan had eyes for Devon all along. Devon shares that marriage is a life saver. “So many times as a man you’re taught, oh it’s about the career. it’s about the money. It’s about conquering the world and then you find the right woman that then can fit into your world because in reality is what we really need is love. What we really need is commitment. What we really need is accountability.” “As a single man I was good. But as a married man I’m great! And it’s because of marriage. It’s because of her love that now there’s a completeness.”
Erica & Warryn : Married 15 YearsErica opened up by sharing that she and Warryn got together shortly after the end of her second engagement. Warryn considers Erica to be his one and only girlfriend whom is now his wife. The two went onto share more about their chemistry in the beginning of their relationship. They had a lot in common and that allowed them to connect on the surface. Erica said what she loved most about herself from the start of their relationship was her being able to feel comfortable to open up to Warryn about how she felt about anything whether it be good or bad. She used the first time she said I love you as an example of her being open about however she felt about Warryn regardless of his feeling/response.
Diane & Jason: Married 10 YearsThe two met on set in New York. Diane wasn’t looking for much of a commitment at the time. She talked about her first date with her now husband. Jason was two hours late and was new to the area so Diane had to pick the location. Due to Jason’s tardiness Diane was over the date from the start. As the date progressed, they got so caught up in each other’s company and lost track of time. They ended up moving in together “temporarily” shortly after, so Diane thought. One day she goes to check her mailbox at her place, Jason wrote his name on her mail box to indicate that he now lives with her since he was always at her place. From that moment on, that event solidified the two were officially ‘going steady’. Diane shared in a successful relationship you can no longer be selfish. Initially she felt marriage was going to be figuratively painful; however, overtime she’s learned for the most part it can be easy going.
Andre & Latoya: Married 7 YearsAndre & Latoya were both getting out of troubling relationships. At the time, Andre was newly divorced while Latoya was married and looking for a way out. They started off as Friends with benefits or their term ‘Fun Buddies’. The arrangement lasted 3 weeks until Andre imposed the idea of a exclusive relationship to Latoya. She was apprehensive about his offer and instantly said no. Deep down Latoya knew she wanted to be in a relationship with Andre when he left to Africa. He had Latoya to house sit for roughly 4 or 5 months. In that moment she was in awe that he trusted her to attend to the needs of his most pride possessions. Of course Latoya lurked while he was away on a project in Africa; however, Andre remained calm the entire time because he was confident in himself in the relationship. He had nothing to hide.
Anthony & Vanessa: Married 28 years
Vanessa & Tony had a memorable first movie date. Tony had eyes for Vanessa’s beauty and hands for her legs. At the time he was finishing up medical school around the same time her character was written out of ‘All My Children”. Anthony Asked Vanessa to move in with him and from the beginning she was apprehensive. She was 30 and asked her mother’s permission out of respect to move in with her now husband. Anthony vowed that he’d marry Vanessa by the end of that year. and so did he. Vanessa mentioned the importance of being clear with her intentions in the beginning of their relationship. She believes that helped the flow of their relationship. It gave Anthony a blueprint of what she wanted out of life and she want planning to settle for anything less. In the end, he kept his promise and and asked Vanessa for her hand in marriage in December of that year.
Chea & Ashley: Married 1 year
Chea & Ashley briefly met at the Jay Z & R. Kelly best of both worlds concert. Six months later the two reconnected while working together and kicked of their friendship, which eventually led to a proposal. Ashley’s ideal guy had long dreadlocks, was African-American, listened to Tali Kweli, and burned inscense. Little did Ashley know, Chea had all of those long lasting qualities Ashley had been longing for – just packaged differently.
Sean & Aonika: Married 10 Years
Sean and Aonika first met briefly at a club while he was busy giving directions to friends meeting him there. The couple met again 3 months later at another party. This time, time was on their side. months later in their relationship Sean was ready for the next phase in their relationship where Aonika would move in with him. He wasn’t vocal about the long term commitment he wanted from Aonika until they re-visited New Orleans, LA. Sean ended up proposing to his now wife around her family at a family craw-fish broil. Aonika mentions how caught off guard she was by the proposal because Sean does it while she’s got craw-fish remains between her fingers; but that didn’t stop Sean. He ended up shoving the ring on her finger anyway.
Chris & Vanessa: Married 10 YearsChris & Vanessa had a fairly casual start up. Vanessa was going with the flow while Chris was finally putting an on again, off again relationship to an end. The first time the term “I Love You” came up between these two was during a really tough break-up. The separation was sparked by the uncertain direction of the relationship. Vanessa had been in a relationship where she was strung along by someone’s lack of certainty and felt Chris was showing her the same red flags she had seen from her previous relationship. Chris mentioned he’s not good with dates. The two met at the Soul Plane party. He references the scene in the movie The Godfather where Michael Corleone had killed McCluskey and moves to Italy shortly after and meets Apollonia to describe how he felt when he first met Vanessa.
Viola & Julius: Married 13 Years
Viola and Husband Julius met in Los Angeles. He was very forthcoming as well as persistent in letting her know that he enjoyed their evening and wanted to do it again. She loved how much her now husband carried himself with style. Julius is quite the gentleman. “After my first date with Julius, my life got better.” Viola shares the idea of marriage is often romanticized and not seen as a solid commitment between two people. “I remember my therapist saying more people would be terrified when they walk down the aisle if they understood exactly what marriage was about.”
As we saw in the first episode each couple’s journey to marriage was different. Some were “ready” in the early stages while some were still caught up in “situation-ships”. In next weeks episode the couples will share their lowest of lows and how they’ve overcome them up until this point. The series will debut in its regular time slot, Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, beginning this Saturday, September 2
What were your thoughts on OWN’s first episode of Black Love?