I couldn’t help but click on the headline when it scrolled across my timeline.
“Did I Know Disney Made A Cartoon About African-American Heroes?” No, I did not.
I skipped through the wordy intro by Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and watched the rest of the 9-minute clip with pride. A Disney cartoon sharing Black history and pride? I can dig it! But instantly I was mentally challenged by the short. Was this just another Disney short for kids? Or was there a larger theme for me as a young adult? I rewatched a second time looking for why this cartoon struck me and realized it was Disney’s portrayal of Black Love that made me beam with pride. It was nice to be reminded that Black Love is a powerful thing.
Disney’s portrayal of Black Love in American Legends (and the Princess and the Frog for that matter) is a sharp contrast to what Love & Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, and similar reality shows make us think about Black Love. Watching shows like these, you’d think every Black woman is loud mouthed, ready to “pop off,” and likely to “drop a n***a if he ain’t actin right.”
But Disney proves Black women are great encouragers, hard workers and ultimately the reason Black men can achieve great things.* (*Not to say that Black men can’t grind it out on their own, but let’s be honest — Barrack would still be driving a hoopty if it weren’t for Michelle.) Together, John Henry and his wife benefited the entire railroad-worker community and laid the foundation for future generations. Black Love in a modern context can do the same. We –as Black women– just have to believe in it.
If you subscribe to the equally-yoked theory (non-religious theorists call this assortative mating), an ideal partner would match you in terms of situation and background. A single, college educated Black woman with a full time job would be seeking a Black man of equal socioeconomic status. But Black men:
The New York Times recently crunched the numbers and found that for every 100 black females between 25 and 54, there are only 83 Black men available. In some areas (e.g. Ferguson, MO) the number of available Black men is even less. Looking at the numbers and the toll that gap takes on dating in the Black community, it could be discouraging to believe in Black Love. But in reality, the ODDS ARE IN YOUR FAVOR.
You could be one of the 17 women that end up with a Fitz (shoutout Kerry Washington), but you could also be one of the EIGHTY-THREE women who find a John Henry. Resisting Black men just because “there aren’t any good ones” isn’t a statistical reality. Eighty-six percent of Black men end up marrying a Black woman. Defining your life by marginalizing statistics (the numbers that show the disparity between Blacks and whites) is no way to define your dating life. If you are eagerly seeking a Black life partner, don’t give up.
There are good ones out there; just look at Disney and believe.