What’s the greatest desire for these parenting couples? Uninhibited SEX!
The day started out hot and heavy with sex on everybody’s mind in the Married While Parenting Panel featuring Egypt Sherrod & DJ Fadelf, and Kenny & Jessica Burns, moderated by Codie Elaine Oliver. The panelist shared that uninhibited sex was the greatest desire for the parenting couples. Kenny spilled out his excitement over having his “girlfriend back” and to have sex with her whenever he wanted, now that his late-teen sons near the age of independence — of course, his “girlfriend” is his wife Jessica. Egypt, who, along with DJ Fadelf, is in season 3 of the BLACK LOVE series, shared his sentiments as she described having to “sneak to have sex” and being interrupted by knocks on the bedroom door. It was impossible for the crowd to not burst into laughter at Kenny’s outburst of “f*@k those kids” when he considered them getting in the way of sex with his wife. Without missing a beat, the conversation shifted to children themselves and the level of discipline required to raise them well, with both couples agreeing that balance should be created for children to understand boundaries and respect.
Clear the clutter in your own life before you let anyone else in.
Across the hall, the Summit kept those who are looking for love in mind as BlackLove.com President Jasmine Nicole sat down with actor Dondré Whitfield, singer Erica Campbell, and yogi and wellness expert Christina Rice for the much-anticipated Finding Black Love Panel. The group shared how to prepare for, find, and keep Black love. Self-awareness led the discussion with step number one being:clear the clutter in your own life before you let anyone else in. Erica spoke out that she was still working on herself while Dondré defined the difference between a “Male” and a “Man”. All in attendance took away nuggets of wisdom on how to get ready for their love, with the bulk of that process residing in investing in yourself.
Surround yourself with those who “actually know what they’re doing.”
Couples and singles alike filled the seats for insight on “securing the bag” at the Couples and Coins Panel led by Jasmine Nicole. Kevin & Melissa Franklin, and Karli & Ben Raymond, took listeners on a journey from their impoverished upbringing to becoming investors and establishing financial freedom. The discussion ranged from the concept of spending versus saving versus investing, to breaking financial trust in the relationship and the steps to rebuild it. While Kevin earns an income on stage, it is his investments that continue to grow and sustain him and his family when he is not active. “An entertainer’s earnings fluctuate, and you need investments that are consistent,” he said. In addition, Karli and Ben raised the bar with the stamped passport of their 6-month-old as they explained the importance of leaving something for our children and working hard to play hard. One great nugget offered by Ben was to surround yourself with those who “actually know what they’re doing”. He suggests that if you would like to remain together forever, then you should surround yourself with healthy couples. Likewise, if you want healthy finances, then you should surround yourself with those moving in a positive financial direction.
Submission is “allowing each other’s strong points to shine, without letting ego get in the way.”
At the What is Submission Panel Dondré Whitfield, who is featured on season 3 of the BLACK LOVE series, Egypt Sherrod & DJ Fadelf, and Erica Campbell & Warryn Campbell, crowd favorites from first season of BLACK LOVE, sat down and shared about the definition of submission and its role in their marriages. Panelists were excited to share their experiences on how they had to adjust their thinking on the topic, to the ways they show acts of submission to their spouses. Both the husbands and wives actively chimed in, with DJ Fadelf sharing a pivotal moment when he expressed that submission is “allowing each other’s strong points to shine, without letting ego get in the way.” Egypt expanded on the comment, saying that letting go of ego for her meant first having to heal her own scars. Men and women took away how important showing submission is in their relationships to finding peace, harmony, and balance — in themselves, and in their partnerships.
..they had to decide to fight for their love instead of fight each other.
Lunchtime ushered in the Fireside Chat: Communications 101 where Jasmine Nicole sat down with super-producer couple Quincy & Deondray Gossfield and the comeback couple Mattie & Chris James for a conversation about how to fight fair. Coming from two very different backgrounds, Quincy & Deondray had to learn how to not take a micro situation and turn it into World War 3 — including violent physical altercations. To grow past this, they had to decide to fight for their love instead of fight each other. Mattie & Chris shared that they have not only been to the breaking point in their marriage, they actually broke and had to rebuild their relationship based on honesty and learning how to speak from the heart. The takeaway — communication in a relationship is WORK, and in order to fight fair, they needed to understand that the rules of engagement have to be respected.
“It got worse before it got better.”
At the VIP Luncheon Keynote with the Campbells, Warryn & Erica Campbell dropped jewels of wisdom from their 18 years of marriage. From trusting God with the details of their relationship, to overcoming the detriments of infidelity, this couple poured out from their cup of experiences, obstacles, and ultimate growth to quench the fires of hopelessness, anger, frustration, mistrust, and unrest amongst married couples in the room. Participants listened intently as Erica passionately admitted that her forgiveness of Warryn’s misdeeds were partly due to him extending the same grace to her during their dating relationship but admitted that “it got worse before it got better”. As they told the stories of the lessons learned from their multi-decade love, including Warryn’s vow to “love you back to the person you really are” the audience became captivated by their story of understanding, resilience, selfless accountability, and the redemptive power of love.
“Men commit emotional suicide and remove themselves from their families because they don’t feel in control.”
After lunch, it was time for a live taping of the fatherhood podcast Dad-Ish. Jeff Johnson led the panel of dads including Dondre Whitfield and Chris Classic. The questions flowed as they talked emotionally absent fathers, the historical significance of fathers in the African American family, and understanding the level of presence necessary to raise kids successfully. All three men drew from their childhood and revisited the pivotal moments of contention that pushes them to protect their children from similar experiences. To shed some light on the mindset of men in their history who may have jumped ship and left their family prematurely, Chris stated that “men commit emotional suicide and remove themselves from their families because they don’t feel in control.” But moving forward, Jeff challenged the attendees to fully understand the purpose of fatherhood, which is “to become revolutionarily more than what our fathers had the ability to be… without judging why they weren’t able to do it.”
“There is no right or wrong, only her perspective versus my perspective, and, at some point, I’m going to want to have sex”.
Then, it was time for the Husbands Panel. Black Love co-creator Tommy Oliver sat down with husbands Devale Ellis, Tommicus “Tommie” Walker, Dondré Whitfield, DJ Fadelf, and Warryn Campbell for an open discussion about how men really feel about marriage. Tommy lead the men by saying these conversations are needed because “as much as we love our women, they can drive us crazy!” He elaborated that when altercations arise in marriage, his disposition is: “You can be happy, or you can be Right! Choose one!” And, Devale Ellis agreed, sharing that he looks at his marriage as “There is no right or wrong, only her perspective versus my perspective, and, at some point, I’m going to want to have sex”. But even with these laugh out loud moments, there was real talk about how integral men are in redefining the Black family structure in America by healing the historical wounds in order to elevate us as a people. To achieve this, the husbands challenged the men in the room to lead in the home and community by mentoring and rearing our young boys to emulate the positive examples these men are to set for our youth.
The women learned that not only are they givers of life, but they breathe life into everything they touch.
Following, was the always fabulous Wives Panel, staring Ashley Chea, Egypt Sherrod, Erica Campbell, Jessica Burns, and LeToya Luckett. The ladies sat down for a discussion about women’s role in marriage and the art of balancing it all, which starts with truth. From moments of vulnerability when Erica Campbell uncovered her experience with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, claiming she “didn’t see [her daughter] until [she was] three months”, to Ashley revealing that she and her husband no longer have sex every day as she boasted at last year’s summit, the discussion went everywhere from marital frustrations to the importance of affirmations for manifestation. The women learned that, not only are they givers of life, but they breathe life into everything they touch, and that unconditional self love must be nurtured to foster that energy into everything around them.
But it wasn’t the end of the men having their say. Tommy Oliver sat down with single man Terrance J for the Dating and Vulnerability Panel, where Tommy pretty much put Terrence in the hot seat, asking him the difficult questions that singles often don’t ask themselves when it comes to looking for the “one” — questions that the hilarious Terrence wasn’t necessarily ready to answer. But he did have questions for the ladies in the audience: Do you want your man to secure the bag or be vulnerable? The ladies resounding response was BOTH! Terrance J shared, being a playboy gets played out quick, and he would trade it all for a loving committed relationship. All the single people in the audience were definitely here for that. The aha moment from Tommy was when he realized the grass is greener where you water it. So, men, get your gardening skills up!
Do not “allow fear to lead you.”
The day ended with the Clips and Conversations Keynote. Tommy Oliver & Codie Elaine Oliver, Terrance J, LeToya Luckett & her husband Tommicus “Tommi” Walker sat down for a discussion about the behind the scenes stories from their favorite clips from season 3 of the Black Love series. It was a moment of pure sweetness, when Tommi shared how he met his wife LeToya when they were set up on a blind date, having no idea that she was a singer and former member of the supergroup Destiny’s Child. LeToya went on to quote her husband’s reaction to discovering her identity: “Man, I used to have a crush on you in high school!” But the two got serious about their individual spirituality, with Tommi sharing, “We were praying before we even met.” LaToya shared that she prayed that God take the wheel –– as a matter of fact, he could throw her in the trunk! –– when it came to meeting her man. And, in addition to praying, LeToya stressed the importance of initiating therapy as a single person who is desirous of marriage. This surprised Terrence J, who didn’t at first see the need for therapy before being in a relationship. But as the conversation developed, especially with the men being open about how not growing up with fathers in their lives affected them, Terrence J realized that he too had been affected by his father’s absence from his wife, and more importantly, his mother’s conversations with him around his father’s absence. He left thinking of how therapy could strengthen his understanding of himself. LaToya appealed to Terrance J not to “allow fear to lead you.” Codie chimed in and politely cornered her husband Tommy with “I would like to go to counseling more.” It was an open and honest conversation about men and women and the potential baggage that needs to be addressed in our lives, and how seeking out counseling or therapy only empowers us as a positive and proactive measure towards our own personal growth and development as we seek, and grow in, love.
With that, the day was complete. Summit attendees left having fellowshipped with a community of lovers from around the country — they laughed, they cried, they questioned, and they leaned into solid proof that love is here for those who seek it. And with a with an open heart and a willingness to do the work, it would be theirs for the taking.