by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson
[Warning: Long post. You might want to grab a snack…]
BET has been dead to me for a while now.
I would have to say I stopped watching BET in high school. With the occasional channel flick to check out music videos, nothing on BET interested me. Not 106 and Park, not BET Nightly News. Nothing.
So imagine my surprise when my best friend called me up and told me to turn on BET, like ASAP.
“They are talking about the state of black marriage!” she yelled, then hung up the phone.
I flipped over to the channel, fearing the worst.
On BET’s Meet the Faith, host Dr. Ian Smith hosted an honest and forthcoming discussion about marriage in the African-American community.
From the tone of the panel to the how the subject matter was covered, it is obvious that we have a long way to go.
The show was set up with two short segments – one black woman’s testimony about marrying outside of the race and an attorney’s venture into blind dating, along with BET personality Cheming interviewing people on the street about their thoughts and feelings about marriage.
The main event, however, was the panel discussion. Ian Smith hosted the discussion, and the featured guests were Dr. Tiy-E Muhammed (billed as an Author and Relationship Expert), Lauren Lake (a legal analyst) and Thomas Lopez-Pierre, Owner of the Harlem Club.
Automatically, I am put on edge. What kind of conversation happens in a 2-on-1 setting? One would at least imagine you would put an equal number of guests when discussing matters of gender.
Some key quotes from the discussion (and a little bit of my reactions) are as follows:
“Black men don’t want a partner, they want wives.” — Lopez-Pierre
It should be noted that Lake jumped all over him for making this assertion. Lopez-Pierre went on to argue that a partner indicates an equal. While I could not catch everything he said (which is why I can’t quote this part), he stated that having an equal or a partner basically means he has to respect the time of his partner, which would mean he would need to do things to help out like make dinner, or clean the house, which is something he refuses to do. Ergo, he wants a wife – not a partner. Lopez-Pierre talks about his relationship with his wife as an example. It is interesting to see where he draws the distinction – a partner is someone you have to pay attention to, a wife is a person who accommodates her man. This perspective is revisited later in the broadcast. Continue reading