If you haven’t heard of, or seen, Love Is ___, you should check it out. It’s a very entertaining show that just so happens to be full of great ’90s throwback music.
But some of the things I’ve seen on the show have given me pause. And they’ve made me wonder what message this show is sending to Black women.
Love Is ____ is the fictionalized account of the love story between Mara Brock Akil and her husband, Salim Akil. If you don’t know who Mara Brock Akil is, she’s the creator of Girlfriends, The Game and Being Mary Jane. In Love Is, we get to see the fictional versions of Mara and Salim, Nuri and Yasir, meet, go on their first date and fall in love.
Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love love. But Love Is has raised some questions/issues for me. Early in Nuri’s story, she proclaims she has a career, a house and a car, so why shouldn’t she expect potential suitors to have the same?
When I heard this, I may have literally put my fist in the air. I’m so sick of watching women on the big and small screen date men who are not on their level. Cut to the beginning of Yasir’s story and we quickly find out he literally doesn’t have a pot to piss in. He doesn’t have a permanent home once he begins seeing Nuri, his raggedy car eventually gets towed and he doesn’t have the money to get it out of the impound lot and if all that wasn’t bad enough, HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A JOB.
Yasir hides all of this from Nuri at first, but none of it ends up mattering because by the time he fesses up, she’s already in love with him. At one point, Nuri asks Yasir if he’s using her. He responds by saying he’s using her to make him a better person.
I beg your pardon? For those of you that don’t know, it is NO ONE’S job to make you a better person. It’s your job to do that.
In a scene where Nuri and Yasir are lying in bed together, he asks her how many men she’s slept with. She eventually jokingly answers after he jokingly answers when she turns the question around on him. My problem with this question is the answer to it is not your partner’s business. What is your partner’s business is whether you’ve been tested for STIs and if you currently have an STI.
Then, Yasir somehow convinces the educated, talented, brilliant, independent Nuri to wear what is basically a long nightie to work. As in to the place where she’s a staff writer on a hit television show. This is completely ridiculous! No grown ass woman would do this, yet we’re supposed to believe Nuri is so lovesick she would allow herself to be talked into this foolishness.
What really pissed me off was Yasir’s reasoning for wanting Nuri to wear a nightie to work: he wanted the men in her office to “know what they were missing.” When they first met, Nuri would’ve responded to such a primitive comment by letting Yasir know she wasn’t his property or a sex object. But now that she’s in love with him, she only smiles at his comment.
I have to ask what message all of this is sending to women. Is it saying as long as a man is supportive of you, it shouldn’t matter that he has nowhere to live, no job and zero money? Of course, Yasir has to be supportive of Nuri if he doesn’t want to go back to living with his homeboy or his ex.
Is this show telling women it’s ok to respond in kind to smart ass remarks men make when you first meet them, but once you’re in a relationship, shut your mouth?
Is this show saying it’s ok to let being in love convince you to make a complete fool of yourself at your workplace?
If this show is saying these things, and I’m not sure it is, I obviously don’t agree with any of these sentiments.
I’m going to keep watching Love Is____, but if Nuri doesn’t get her voice back soon, Mara Brock Akil will be hearing my voice instead.