In light of the recent negative media commentary concerning black women and relationships, the creator of the website, Black Girl with Long Hair (a.k.a. BGLH), Leila Noelliste, decided to write a positive post on the subject. Her post consisted of a giveaway asking readers to submit photos of themselves with their significant other and, in keeping with the main theme of the site, their natural hair.

The response was overwhelming, hundreds of pictures (and counting) poured in from women as well as men – BGLH’s post was a success.

Leila shares with Clutch readers how it all began…

Well, there has been a lot of news coverage lately about the fact that 42% of black women have never been married. And then Jill Scott wrote an article for Essence talking about how disappointed she is when she sees successful black men with white women. I just felt that it was a depressing and disappointing media atmosphere for young black women like myself.

My website, Black Girl with Long Hair, already exists to resist media messages that discredit kinky/curly hair. So I figured I’d take it a step further and use it as a platform to discredit the notion that black women are helpless and hopeless when it comes to love and relationships.

I’ve been natural for three years and very active in the online natural community for two, and I’ve noticed  a high percentage of natural women are married and engaged women. So I asked my readers to send in photos of themselves with their significant others. I threw in a prize (a vintage ring for a winner selected at random) and I titled it the “Love is in the Hair” giveaway.

After I had finished writing the post I went back and forth for a really long time on whether I should post it. I wondered if people would find it too intrusive or off-topic, or feel that I was making light of a serious issue. After hemming and hawing, and talking to my fiancé at length, I put up the post around midnight, sandwiched another post on top of it and had a couple posts for backup in case the giveaway was an absolute bomb.

When I woke up 8 hours later I had 20 “Love is in the Hair” entries in my inbox. I left my computer for several hours that afternoon and came back to 46 entries! By the end of the first day I had received 73. I extended the series for another day and received 50 more entries. The giveaway ended a week ago and I’m still getting entries!

I was absolutely shocked at the response. I’ve run a lot of contests and giveaways on my blog and NONE have had this kind of response. It lets me know that there is a deep, deep hunger for us as black women to know and see that we are loved because there are so many media messages to the contrary.

Many women who emailed me their pictures also thanked me. Some saying, “You know, no one ever gives me the chance to celebrate my love.” That really struck me. It made me even more convinced that an acknowledgment of young, black love MUST become a part of the media script when we talk about black women and relationships.

I’ve been getting great feedback. A lot of people tweeted and blogged about the post, or put links to it in their Facebook statuses. Many, many people have asked me to make it a permanent fixture on my blog. I have some plans to that effect :) And of course, I’m super excited that Clutch was interested in doing a piece!

BGLH “Love is in the Hair” Submissions

More Information on BGLH
BGLH website
Love is in the Hair Post
BGLH Twitter
BGLH Facebook

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  • anything i am

    Joe Clyde was right on the money with his post!!!!

    “You tell me. The proof is in the pudding. Look at past topics that speak about Black love or positive about Black men. 15 responses max from black women.

    Look up an article that slightly suggest that a white male may “think” about dating a Black woman. 50 responses and counting.

    Black women in 2010 base their beauty and self-esteem on how many white men find them attractive. I don’t care if a Black woman is in a relationship with a Black male. She will have a million and one stories about how some strange white man was sexually attracted to her. Her face will light up with pride that some strange white man want to have sex with her. lol It’s sad but true.”

    Yes!!!! Every single freaking black women’s site I’ve been to (17 and transitioning to natural, so there have been a lot of them!), they just will not let go of that IR dating mess! It’s so annoying and hypocritical! “Love me for being black and beautiful, but I don’t have to do the same for you.”

    Cut it out! I swear, I’d even go back to a relaxer to avoid being clustered with women like them. Nah, not really lol! :) But that post was awesome, bro.

    • Tracey

      “they just will not let go of that IR dating mess!”
      Why should someone let it go? Love seem to hard to find to put blinders on because of someone’s race.

      Did you ever think that maybe it doesn’t get as many comments because it’s a universally accepted thing and not controversial to have articles on black love? The same thign happens with any media story. If it’s normal and everyday it gets less comments but if it’s about gays in the military, the war, porn etc it gets major hits and comments.

      You possibly mistake pride for possible surprise or shock. Have you ever actually talked to someone who has this reaction or are you just assuming?

  • Tati

    I love this. I think its so important to show the love women have for their natural hair and the men that also love them. Honestly, when I first cut my hair almost a year ago I had such low self- esteem and I thought I looked like a boy…blah blah blah and I am way over that, but seeing these pictures also reinforces my self esteem because now I can visually see that I can fall and love AND have natural hair. who knew :)

  • blackeyes

    Is this really the definition of “black love”? I thought black love was between blacks?
    Anyway, why not just call it LOVE AND NATURAL HAIR?

    • whilome

      I’m black and somebody loves me. Just because he’s white don’t mean it ain’t black love.

  • DeePDX

    I loved this article and love Clutch!

  • Totally agree. I see a lot of naturals married as well. Not to say that this is the reason I am married as well but at some point in relationships and life when you be comfortable in your own skin with yourself do you truly reach the point of having & maintaining healthy relationships.