Something New… But Not Really
I received a couple of emails about Sandi “Pepa” Denton and her new boyfriend Tom Lo on the television show “Let’s Talk about Pep“. I’ve seen the show’s premiere episode and I liked it; I would describe it as a reality slanted black version of “Sex and the City”. But after the first episode I never got a chance to go back to it because I’ve been, for lack of a better word, “consumed” with the final season of “Lost”. But I am hoping that VH-1 follows these ladies a 2nd season and keeps the first season online for people to watch.
Suffice it to say, I haven’t seen the episode where Tom woos and courts Pep so I don’t know if it is a real romance or a showmance, but does it really matter? For may women just watching an AsAm/AfAm couple like Pepa and Tom on-screen is a bit revolutionary. Not only can a professional sister like Zoey Andata (Gabrielle Union) hook up with Demetri Noh (John Cho) on FlashForward but if a down chick like Pep can cross a line to date a Chinese brother then maybe there aren’t as many blockades as we thought there were. The “Nothing but a Brother” brigade might be losing members.
AM/BF love connections aren’t really new. They might seem like something new because they aren’t as ubiquitous as BM/WF or WM/AF but they exist if only in small numbers.
A few years ago blasian groups were all atwitter with the AsianWeek cover with an Asian man and black woman. The impetus for the article was writer/former AsianWeek editor Sam Cacas’ book “BlAsian Exchanges”. In the interview Cacas says, “BlAsian relationships only started happening in the late ’90s and are regularly verified on the Internet in Yahoo discussion groups like PowerCouples_AMBW with 300-plus members — mostly black women—which I co-moderate, and YouTube videos like the one showing the BlAsian couple in an IKEA commercial. The image of black women and Asian men needs to be broadened beyond their archetypal racial uniforms of accepting notions of white beauty.”
I found this picture on my new favorite blog, B. Vikki Vintage. The Wedding announcement is circa the late 1950s.
Taking it back further, after the civil war Chinese coolies were invited into the south to help keep down salaries of poor whites and newly freed blacks. When some Chinese put down roots in their new cities they married black and white women (1).
Something new really isn’t something new and probably surprises each generation when it comes around again. But I guess if you haven’t seen it then it’s new to you.
At one time it was new for me and I haven’t seen myself reflected back in the couples around me. But back in January I was running errands during lunch saw a young AM/BF couple walking towards me. I stopped and looked , trying not to appear too shocked. As I entered the building I stopped to talk to a friend and I saw a different AM/BF couple come in holding hands oblivious to their surroundings.
I haven’t thought much about although yesterday as I was working the desk I was approached by a Chinese man and African woman. I helped them find the book they were searching for and couldn’t help noticing the love taps that kept going back and forth, the shy smiles and the furtive glances. A smirk came over my face and I had to ask, “Are you two a couple?”
“No,” said the man. “We are students.” I told them my husband was Korean American and I just thought I saw something there. We began to talk about visiting Asia then he thanked me for the book and as they left they jostled and touched on the say going out.
Mmm hm, I thought.
Then later that day another young Chinese male came in to use a computer and of all the empty computers around he chose a table that had a few pretty young black females. I slyly watched their interactions; he smiled at one particular dark girl with long black hair. She seemed to be a bit attracted to him, too, because she kept smiling back and answering questions that I’m pretty sure he knew the answer to. I left the desk not knowing the resolution to their mild timid flirtation. Maybe they exchanged numbers or maybe they have other connections that might keep them apart. Who knows whom likes whom? How does one approach blank and what do we have in common? The modern dating dilemma is not something new, color withstanding.