I used to awaken in the middle of the night, turn on the TV praying that the sound would not wake my mother and watch old black and white films. It would not matter the title. I discovered a fondness for musicals, Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire. I became enamored by the love story. I imagined such a life of beauty, love, and music. I became engrossed in the story until I would fall asleep or the national anthem would start playing.
Funny thing, I never saw anyone like myself in those stories. There were African American movies and characters but they were in the throws of struggle, poverty, or slaves. Where were the brown girl love stories? It was a question I put on the shelf in my young mind and went about life being a kid. As a preteen, I discovered Zora Neale Hurston stories. Their Eyes Were Watching God centered around black love before it was a hashtag. I craved more.
If I were this hungry to see women like myself fall in love, surely there were others. Mahatma Gandhi and, later, Barack Obama said that you need to be the change you want to see. So, I became a writer. I wrote Ruth’s Awakening: A Love Story to illustrate a young black woman’s journey to love. Ironically, I have had non-black women and men write me or tell me how much they relate to the story. Love is truly our universal language.
As I write the sequel, I have to remind myself to remember the love. The desire for it, the euphoria in it, the hope of it and transmute that on the page.