When BLACK LOVE series co-creator Tommy Oliver uttered the words “we are not here to judge but to learn from different perspectives,” it became clear that was the through line in every discussion at the first ever Black Love Summit, held at the W Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA on October 7th.
The creative minds behind the event, Tommy & Codie Elaine Oliver, produced an enchanting atmosphere of transparency and fellowship with 10 panels that provided singles and couples authentic relationship tools for prosperity and longevity.
Each conversation provided a unique insight on love and the work it takes to grow a relationship that will leave a healthy and long-lasting legacy.
To start the day off, Comedian Chris Spencer & wife, Vanessa, set the tone of how real and raw the panel couples were willing to get in one of the two morning panels, Married While Parenting. Married While Parenting tackled communicating, balancing a spouse’s heavy travel schedule, and bringing a spouse back into the family dynamic upon returning from the road — all while juggling the responsibility of raising children. “Coming back was like jumping into double-dutch with ropes on fire…Where do I fit it?” Chris said, only half-way joking.
Next door, Aspire TV presented Mistakes Singles Make, a panel with relationship coach Dr. Aesha and Leslie Antonoff of Aspire’s hit cooking show Bread+Butter. “Dating is a skill set that takes intentionality and methodology, and yes, in 2018, it is okay for women to date multiple men at the same time,” said Dr. Aesha. And yes, that whole conversation went all the way into the cave of taboo, as it stepped on the toes of older generational ideals with mention of sexual liberation –– and we hadn’t even had lunch yet.
Round two of panels began with the Husbands Panel featuring Lance Gross, Chris Spencer, Devale Ellis, Robbie Jones and moderator, Tommy Oliver. The fellas were asked “How do your wives build you up?”, “How do you, as husbands, deal with temptation?” and “What makes you feel loved?”.
Everyone in the room leaned in as animated and comedic descriptions were given by Ellis of how physical touch plays a huge role in his marriage. Gross went in on what to do when another woman slides in the DMs: “You must set boundaries and check people first. It’s not your wife’s job to police those things.”
While the men got all the way real, the Finance Woes conversation was held in the next room with finance expert Tonya Rapley and Ashley & Bryan Chea who were featured in Season 1 of the BLACK LOVE series. A couple who had a child in their first year of dating and didn’t marry for another 7 years, Ashley and “Chea” spoke to abandoning gender roles while building generational wealth through temporary sacrifice, intentionality, and the education of the next generation on money. “A lot of people don’t take into account everything they’re spending on a monthly and weekly basis. Where’s the direction of the family going? In order for us to really have a chance at creating generational wealth, we need to take dynamic opportunities to set up the next play,” Chea said.