“Will he claim you?” If I had a dollar for every time a girlfriend asked me this about a budding relationship, I could buy a man. It’s never enough to have a great connection, or even commitment, with a man if he doesn’t acknowledge it publicly.

In some corners, public love is the litmus test of whether a relationship is real or not. The thinking goes who cares what he says and does for you behind closed doors, if he won’t declare his love for you to the world? If a man doesn’t profess his feelings for you, do they even exist?

These relationships are wrought with a whole ‘nother set of problems, but both Andrea Kelly and Emily B. were slammed for staying with men who wouldn’t claim them (R. Kelly and Fabolous, respectively). Cassie endured the same criticism for years until recently, Diddy acknowledged her with an Instagram post, which many considered a milestone in their notoriously hush-hush relationship.

On the flip side, the Twittersphere delivered a virtual standing ovation when Jay-Z declared Beyonce “the best performer in the world” and Nas’ admission of love for ex-wife Kelis, even after their bitter divorce, was a brave and mature moment for hip hop that even Kelis herself praised.

The latter two are put on a pedestal for loving publicly, because let’s face it, it doesn’t happen as often as it should. Whether it’s because they don’t want to appear vulnerable or because their feelings are wholly inadequate, the truth is some black men keep their mouths shut when it comes to love.

Keyshia Cole elucidated this concept, when speaking about her husband, Daniel ‘Boobsie’ Gibson, to Jet Magazine:

On Keyshia’s appreciation of Daniel showing her love her in front of others

“He has a beautiful spirit. And he’s not afraid to love publicly. I think our Black men are afraid to love publicly, and I’m not a fan of that.”

Daniel seems proud of his family, from his relationship with Keyshia to his role as a father to Daniel, Jr. He isn’t afraid to declare his love to the world. In fact, he lights up while talking about how they met and how he courted her. Keyshia said she appreciates that, specifically because many black men are afraid to love when people are looking.

Do you agree with Keyshia, Clutchettes and Gents? Are our men afraid to love publicly?

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