These Are My Black Marriage Role Models

By Briana Myricks

My marriage means so much to me. It’s a union between myself and my best friend. Going into the marriage, we didn’t have the best role models within our immediate family. Don’t get me wrong; we have a few. There’s my uncle and aunt, who have a great marriage and did it the right way (marriage, house, then a child). There’s his sister and his brother-in-law, who both were in the military and live a great life that my husband and I both would love. I would include his parents and my grandparents based on their marriages now but both of those were rocky in the beginning years. My parents, who married my stepparents when I was young, both have experienced divorce.

This was a huge concern for me once we got engaged. With the scary statistics of divorce, I felt anxious about finding marriage role models. Who would we look up to? Who would we model our relationship after? How would we go from being married at 20 to still being married 50 years later? While none of these examples have hit the 50 year mark yet, these celebrity spouses have become my black marriage role models:

Barack and Michelle Obama: How refreshing to have a black president and a black first lady. Their love just warms         my heart. They are truly each other’s backbone, and it shows. They’ve been together since college, and you can just tell they have a bond like no other. To have that type of marriage in the forefront, not just for me, but for all of America to see, is just a blessing. They complement each other so well, and I can just feel the love they have for each other. I want to have that effect on people. I want them to know when they see my husband and I that we truly love each other.

Beyonce (Knowles) and Sean (Jay-Z) Carter: They may not have been listed first, but this is my all time favorite couple. I’m a Jay-Z fanatic. Not a groupie; I really enjoy his music, so much so that it inspired a tattoo of mine. Their relationship makes me grin from ear to ear. They’re very private and secretive, even going as far as getting married on the low. I love watching interviews to see if one is going to mention the other. They giggle when the other is mentioned. They can work together and support each other without everyone being in their business. You can imagine how absolutely excited I was to find out they were expecting. I want to keep my marriage between my husband and I.

Will and Jada (Pinkett) Smith: The entire Internet universe went crazy when rumors were spreading that this couple was heading for splitsville. I feel like I was the only person in my network who just knew it wasn’t true. Now I don’t know Will and Jada like that, but I can just feel the energy their relationship has. They are each other’s cheerleaders and campaign managers. They can joke, they show public displays of affection, and they’re awesome parents too. I want my marriage to be as fun as theirs.

Mariah (Carey) and Nick Cannon: Surprised to see this couple on the list? You shouldn’t be. They’re defying all the odds. I’ll admit, I thought it was an odd pair, but hey, their relationship is their business. Now new parents, Mariah and Nick don’t care what anyone says about their marriage. They are focused on loving each other. And Nick just loves his wife to pieces! I don’t want to let what anyone says affect my marriage, just like them.

Kimora (Lee Simmons) and Djimon Hounsou: Besides being an absolutely stunning couple, I love how they make the blended family work. Djimon accepts Kimora’s daughters, Aioki and Ming, while also loving their son Kenzo. The fact that they have a relationship with Kimora’s ex Russell is just worth applause to me. I come from a blended family, and I have to say, I would’ve loved if my parents could’ve been like this. I admire how comfortable they are with each other’s careers.

Oprah Winfrey & Steadman Graham: Okay, so not a traditional “marriage” but a romantic partnership nonetheless. I’m a powerful, headstrong woman myself, and I’ve been focused on taking over the world since I was 5. My husband doesn’t feel threatened by that at all. He just supports me. Steadman isn’t in the way or intimidated by Oprah’s success. He lets her be herself, and I admire that so much.

Our families may not have provided us with a lot of good examples of marriage, but as long as these couples are in the media giving positive vibes about it, I can really believe in happily ever after.

Briana Myricks became a freelance writer and blogger after being laid off unexpectedly. She blogs about life as a young newlywed at 20 and Engaged.

20 replies
  1. Shaye
    Shaye says:

    Hell, the author should’ve added Whitney and Bobby to the list. The only couple I agree with on this list are the Obamas. At any rate, the ppl that are the paradigm for real black marraiges are my parernts who have been married for 40+ years and are an inspiration to me! Thank God that’s something I can see in real life and not in the media.

  2. Attorney2be
    Attorney2be says:

    While I find this to be a nice post dealing with famous black marriages, I personally cannot use celebrities as role models when it comes to marriages and black love. I come from a family of women and men who have all been married at least 20 or so years. My grandparents were married 68 years when my grandfather died. IMO we should look to our own families as role models. Celebrities put on their best face. You don't see what goes on behind closed doors. This is why people get so upset when they divorce. The first response, "oh my gosh they looked so happy." That's what they want us to see. While I'm not saying a lot of them don't have solid marriages, I'm just saying I can't classify them as my role models when it comes to marriage.
    My recent post When you've been done wrong

  3. I'M Just saying
    I'M Just saying says:

    I like the First Family, they have been talked about scrutenized in every way but yet and still they are able to hold their own..
    @Anayah- Yes, I love this couple as well they are beautiful.
    As the others "to me" they are not my favorite and nor do I look at them as rold models.
    My parents and my n laws has been married for over 45 years, they are true role models.

  4. Jasmine B
    Jasmine B says:

    I love Michelle and Barack as they present black love to the rest of the word!
    I must say I understand where Ptah180 is coming from.Though I do have real life couple romodels.
    My Paternal aunt has been married eight years,my Maternal first cousin 10 years and my in laws have been married 20 years.

  5. Christine
    Christine says:

    This is a great article. I think more important than looking at the "celeb names" on the list–we need to pay attention to the things that Briana says she sees in each couple. That's what is really inspiring! Thanks for such a wonderful article Briana.

  6. Essence
    Essence says:

    What I love is that the President & First Lady are such in the public eye & still make time to have family fun days! Love it but my down to earth role model that’s help more then they know in my relationship are.. The Ma’ats. God brought me to your site and at the RIGHT TIME. Thank you thank you thank you for all that you show us. Black Love & Marriage. Something I’ve only seen with 1 couple (my aunt & uncle) in my life.

  7. Ptah180
    Ptah180 says:

    Notice that all of her examples are rich and famous, not ordinary couples struggleing everyday in a bad economy and yet making it work inspite of. Truthfully, how much time do Jay Z and Beyonce have time to spend together? Or Obama and Michelle? really?/ Will and Jada come across as "real people" but even on that, Mr.Smith is a gazillionaire, there certain things he and Jada dont have to worry about, like the mortgage and car notes…

    • Briana @ 20&Engaged
      Briana @ 20&Engaged says:

      I can't help but have role models who I see on a regular basis. I don't know ANY ordinary couples who are struggling everyday in a bad economy and making it work. I can't be faulted for that. If I knew those couples, they would be at the top of my list. These are my CELEBRITY examples. My parents' marriages both failed and my uncle and aunt aren't struggling; they're doing great and they are my role models too. These are still my role models because they DON'T have to worry about economic things like mortgages and car notes. Who knows how much time they spend together. They're making it seem like they're making it work, which is why they're on this list.
      My recent post Wedding Wednesday: Seating Arrangements

      • Ptah180
        Ptah180 says:

        I can definately respect that. It's just hard for me to use people who dont live in my world as models on how to stay together. I can't you, finances will tear a marriage apart almost as fast as infedelity . When folks how to worry about normal things like paying bills, savings ect ect, staying together and loving each other becomes a job.

        Will Jada have made certain agreements that allow their relationship to be "flexible", Jada understands she's married to a millionaire being chased by thousands of horny women, she's going to cut him a little slack. He cant say no to all of them. Me on the other hand, I wish I would step to my woman about having an "open relationship"..LOL sheeeeeeeeed…

        • I'M Just saying
          I'M Just saying says:

          LOLOL You are funny, I'm sure lots of men think that as well..LOLOL

  8. Anayah
    Anayah says:

    The only couple missing, that is pretty high on our list, is Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance. They’re inspirational in the their professional careers and in their projection of love and partnership.

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