Jonathan & Pamela: A Black Love Story

Meet newlyweds Pamela and Jonathan – My name is Pamela and I’m an entertainment lawyer by day and jewelry designer/content creator by night. I’m a proud Nigerian from New York, now based in Los Angeles, California.

My name is Jonathan and my family is from Dominica and Grenada. I’m from Newark, New Jersey but now in LA. I’m an engineer specializing in lean manufacturing.

How did you meet?
In Cuba! It’s crazy because we both lived in California at the time, but met across the world on Santa Maria del Mar beach in Havana, Cuba. It was December 31, 2016, and I was on a girls trip with 7 friends from all over the country, yet I was the only girl who lived in California, and the one he walked up to. We quickly discovered we’re both from the east coast now living in Cali (Pamela – NY, Jonathan – NJ). If that enough wasn’t a sign we were meant to be, we found out that we were both invited to the same New Year’s Eve party that night by this Nigerian guy we each met randomly on different days of our trip! I saw Jonathan again at the party that night and the rest is history.

How long have you been together?
Over 3 years.

Any barriers to dating being from different cultural backgrounds?

P: Not going to lie, I remember seeing those memes about the types of men you shouldn’t date, and laughing when I saw Nigerian men and Caribbean men on the list. I learned that you have to be careful with stereotypes and grouping good guys in with your past experiences of African/Caribbean men, because you don’t want to block your blessings by being afraid of someone because of where they come from. He showed me I could let your guard down, and I am so thankful to God I did.

J: There were not really any barriers when it came to our different cultural backgrounds. We both came from families that sacrificed and worked hard to make a better life for us in the United States. I felt like that drive had been passed down to both of us. Her family took me in like a son. I don’t think I could ask for better in-laws. It’s been fun to learn more about her Yoruba culture. One of my closest friends is Yoruba and when we started dating I hit him with a few things I learned and he was amazed. My shaku shaku has improved too.

How did you know you’ve found the one?

P: He’s shown me since Day 1 that if someone wants to see you and be with you, they will make a way. We were long distance in the beginning of our relationship, I was in LA and he was in the bay area. I was getting ready to travel to Bali, Indonesia, for another preplanned girls trip. I told him I wish I could see him when we were on the phone… little did I know a few hours later he FaceTimed me and he was in front of my door to surprise me! It was a holiday weekend, traffic was crazy and flights were booked. It took him about 14 hours round trip to drive back and forth. When we talked on the phone earlier, he was already on his way down to surprise me but lied and said he was on his way to basketball practice. He’s continued to surprise me ever since.

J: When I first met Pamela I was immediately attracted to her. She was gorgeous and she seemed sweet. I thought she was cute and in turn, I hollered. After all the long calls, FaceTiming, and rotating visits between LA and the Bay, I realized she was my “unicorn”. She had more than looks. She was smart, driven, God-fearing, and sincere. She never came off superficial or high maintenance; although she does like to stunt from time to time. We complemented each other well. I’m adventurous while she’s more cautious. She’s a great planner while I’m somewhat of a fly by my seat kind of guy. We’re both very outgoing and love to dance and we obviously love to travel. Consequently, I naturally dedicated all my time to courting her. When I drove down to LA to surprise her and see her off before the Bali trip, I didn’t even think I was going out of my way. I just cared about seeing her and getting some more time with her. When she came to the door with tears of joy in her eyes I thought to myself, “this girl loves me” and I felt the same way. That feeling of being acknowledged through the love she expressed had me pretty much convinced. There was no one else for me. She’s going to be my wife one day.

The proposal:

J: To give you a little bit of premise, before I proposed, Pamela had celebrated her 30th Birthday in Harlem early in the year. We were in NY together with both her family and friends and my family and friends. I decided I wanted to bring in our proposal in the same fashion, but I still wanted to maintain the surprise.

Every year my family holds a memorial in August and Pamela hadn’t been yet. We decided we were going to make our way to NJ/NY that weekend for the memorial and to catch up with family and friends. By this time I was already close to her besties (all of whom are on the east coast). I let them know my intentions to propose that same weekend in NY and I wanted all of them to be there and help me pull it off. I asked one of her friends to tell Pamela they should plan a “girl’s night out” for that Friday. To keep it inconspicuous I waited for her to tell me and later came back to her and said we should kill two birds with one stone and do a group thing with both of our sides since we were so short on time. She reluctantly went back to her friends to ask if my crew could tag along and as instructed they gave her a hard time about it, but came around to the idea. My plan was set. On August 17th, 2018 we all met up at a rooftop lounge in Manhattan that I had set up with a table and bottle service. I had never been to that lounge and was hoping the music wouldn’t be too loud, but was quite mistaken. The only way for her to really hear my words was to get the DJ to stop the music. I was planning to propose in front of our family and friends, not the whole lounge, but it could not be helped. I took her to the dance floor and with a billion butterflies in my stomach gave a short speech and got down on one knee surrounded by our family and friends. The rest is history.

What does the term “Black Love” mean to you? How does it affect how you relate to your partner?

P: Black love…wooo –sometimes what’s understood doesn’t need to be explained. It is a blessing to have someone who understands your love language and displays affection, yet understands the deep nuances and complexities of what it’s like to be Black, especially in America. This means I empathize and find ways to listen and always uplift my husband, because I want him to know that our Black love is a safe space where he can always feel seen and appreciated.

J: To me Black love is loving yourself, your culture, your ancestry and roots so much you seek it in the form of another. It is in a way a phrase that reflects my pride as a Black man of Caribbean descent. I have always been attracted to and loved black women. They are the most resilient people on this planet and they do not get enough credit. There was never any doubt my queen would be a Black woman. I got the bonus of finding an African Queen. Black love is setting a foundation for the generations to come after us. My wife and I are dedicated to each other and to the future of our family. We have daily conversations about our careers, our finances, and our aspirations. We build each other up and give each other reassurance in the most trying times. My wife is my biggest cheerleader and I’m hers. By God’s grace we will achieve levels of success beyond our imagination.

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