Rachel Lindsay is a pioneer.
For those of you who do not know the name but have wit and intellect and context clues, you’re probably deducing that she’s the first person of color ABC has finally deemed interesting enough to dedicate a whole season to her finding love — spot on, you’re a regular Sherlock Holmes!
Like Oprah or Serena or Beyoncé or Maya or Michelle, Rachel is paving the way for black people — black women — near and far. She is shaking up the status quo. She is doing what no black woman has done before. She has penetrated a market that for 15 years made the assumption that America didn’t care about a POC finding love. Now, I understand putting Rachel in the same league as these trailblazers might seem like an unnecessarily ginormous stretch; however, before you start judging my sanity realize that she is the first *real black female we get to watch find love.
*”real” because I know this is a reality show and there might be some subtle nudging from network execs to boost ratings (I mean CLEARLY the producers helped her make some final rose decisions), but real enough.
To me, black women aren’t really allowed to date. At least, we’re not exposed to black women dating. Maybe it’s the assumption that nobody wants to see that? Or nobody wants to date us? When I think of black women in pop culture and their love lives it’s all been a mystery. Bey and Jay back in the day basically hid their love under lock n key and we didn’t get to see the courting process — they just popped up married one day. Barack n Michelle had a whole family already when they got on the scene leaving many single black male n females alike wondering “how’d they do that?” I’m racking my brain trying to think of the last time I saw a black woman dating and it escapes me. Now, let me be clear. Obviously people are dating and dated all over this great land, but the problem is that oftentimes these women are slut shamed in a way that we single broads do not envy even if we wished we had a rolodex of men like them to go on dates.
Rihanna, Gabrielle Union, Alicia Keyes, etc. You name it and her dating life has been “slut shamed.” If we see it in real time as it develops, she’s inevitably a slut. Or you have no idea what’s going on and she pops up engaged (Serena Williams) or married and pregnant (Kerry Washington). Just once I want there to be a chocolate Taylor Swift who can be the belle of the ball and date any and everyone and not be slut shamed as she looks for her prince charming.
I don’t want to have to turn to “Love and (appropriate black music genre)” or being a “housewife” in a city where no one exhibits being a housewife or might not even be married or any of the other many many many shows about women being girlfriends/fiancees/wives/side pieces to an athlete or musician or whatever man that somehow helps validate their existence.
To me, Rachel is the Rosa Parks of black female dating. She’s beautiful. Educated and has common sense — from what I’ve seen far. And hopefully won’t be depicted in a shouting match or brawl or whatever else black woman trope we’ve seen on TV time and time again. We’ve still a long way to go, but Rachel is a pioneer in changing the perception that black women don’t have to fit a stereotype to find love. We aren’t all angry and bitter and ghetto. There are many of us Michelles out there still hunting for our Barrys.
I’m wishing Rachel all the luck in finding hers.
Feel free to tune in tonight, 9|8c on ABC.
This is not a paid ad.
But I sure wish it was!