I am a true advocate for real love. The unique thing about relationships is that you both get to make it your own. You both decide the ends and outs, create boundaries, and love each other unconditionally. Communication makes everything much more effective and open. I was blessed to have couples share their love stories of how they met. I get joy out of seeing millennial couples thrive and truly give their all in the name of love.

Brian Minter & Ashley Pickett


My boyfriend Brian and I recently celebrated our six year dating anniversary on July 29th. We knew of each other in high school, but it wasn’t until after high school we became a couple.  A couple summers after graduating high school, I started to notice his tweets, they were quite hilarious! But, then I realized he was also retweeting a lot of my tweets. We had similar music taste, and we were both early morning tweeters. Eventually, he “slid into my DM's” and we began to get to know each other.

After communicating through text and on Twitter for about a month, we went on a date. Our date was great, he opened doors, payed the bill and was an overall gentleman. A week after, we decided to go on another date. But unfortunately, that summer was coming to an end, and we attended different colleges. We began a long-distance relationship. Having to be in a long-distance relationship helped us in many ways. It gave us a chance to really get to know one another without any physical distractions. We got to know each other on a mental level, and pick one another’s brain. We would text and talk all day every day. But, being that we were at different colleges four hours apart we did have a few rough patches.

After graduating, and both returning to our hometown, it became apparent that our feelings for one another had grown immensely and we were both ready to put more time and effort into our relationship. Brian and I are not only significant others, but best friends. At this point, we are pretty much inseparable, which has led to us becoming affectionately known as “BASH" by our friends and family. We are a major support system for one another, we push and motivate each other to reach our fullest potential and dreams. Over the last six years, we’ve had ups and downs, but our love has always prevailed!

George and Jalyssa


Our love is a different type of love. In our eyes we share something so special that it's so difficult to explain. We have formed a great connection with the level of understanding we have and the good flow of communication we keep with each other. We support each other in any and everything. We motivate each other and with the bond we have it's always laughing and a good time. We love each other and it shows. If we discuss how we met, he'll say we met because I crashed his 21st birthday party. I was invited, just not by him. It was his 21st birthday so naturally he didn't remember who I was. I reintroduced myself a few months later and after that we always seen each other in passing. Nine months after our initial meeting he slid in my DMs. School was out by this point so we talked pretty much for three months without seeing each other, I credit that for being the reason we communicate so well with each other. We have now been together for one year and five months, we live together and we have a dog! Everything won't be perfect but TRUST, COMMUNICATION, and LOVE is what got us through it all. 

Kaylin and Tomorris Reese


We have been together for two years and have been married for four months. We started as admirers at the tender age of eight and nine years old, as our families were super close. The first time we actually spoke was at my ninth birthday party (April 2001). We had fun, skated and he gave me all his money. That is when I knew we were meant to be (just kidding). 

As teenagers, we kept in touch, but he lived in Arizona most of that time. In April 2015, for my 23rd birthday we went on our first real date and the rest is history. The following year, we were expecting our first child who was born January 2017. We exchanged vows and we’ve been on cloud 9 ever since. We are complete opposites, even down to the foods we eat, but I also think that makes us fit together like puzzle pieces. We have fun together, we confide in and counsel each other, and in my eyes I thought this was the first right decision I’ve made in years. After seeing our how perfect our son Taylor is, I know that for a fact to be true now. We both build each other up to be the best person we can be for our family, but more importantly, for ourselves. There have been situations that have tried to keep us apart, whether it was distance or other people, and somehow we’ve managed to stay connected. That goes to show that no one can stop what is destined to be. 

Essence and Devin


I see this senior around campus with mutual friends often and he catches my eye. As a junior, and with him graduating that year I wondered if he was even paying me any attention. I started to include myself in groups when he was around just so I can be by him. We started to talk to each other on social media and got to know more about each other. We started spending time together and I was growing more attached to this boy by the day. As time passed, scared that things might get serious, I acted like I didn't want him, to the point where he thinks I'm not interested. He graduated and summer break was coming to an end. After hanging out from sun up to sundown, the day before he goes off to school, I was sad I wouldn't be able to see him often. I went home to type a long paragraph and told him how I really felt. He called me, we talked, and long story short this senior became my boyfriend. 

Time starts to fly by and despite everyone telling us how we were too young to settle down, we remained together. We didn't have the "perfect" relationship, but together we grew as a couple and we never gave up on each other. Today, six years later he's no longer my boyfriend, but my fiancé and a father to our soon to be baby boy. Looking back, I'm glad he walked in my life.He's my best friend, other half, human diary, tissue to wipe my tears when I'm feeling down, my biggest supporter and critic. I would have never thought that this man and I would be where we are today. After all these years, I still get butterflies when he walks in the room and I wouldn't trade him for anyone else in the world. We look crazy on this picture, but I picked it because it explains our relationship so well. 

latia and Michael


He's my favorite love story, that has never been written about black love and how fairytales do come true. He has always said he knew he loved me from the day we met. 1996 was the year to be exact. I was 14 years old and he was nothing that I was interested in. We met by chance, because I was forced to attend an engagement. He smiled. I didn't. Yet, he kept trying to befriend me that night until I eventually gave in with a smiling laugh. From that night forward, he became my best friend. He was my first kiss, teaching me how to do so, knowing it was to impress another boy. By age 16, he confessed his love for me and said one day we would be married into happily ever after. I had to strongly disagree. I had never met love before, more so from a male of any sort. 

As time passed, our friendship grew strained. We both began to date others, made mistakes that lead to make up's and break up's, children, and hardships. We eventually end up losing contact for five years And then, one day, I received a message that said, "Hey beautiful. Is this you? My first love?". Our code message: MyFirstLove. It was me and unbeknownst to him, I needed him to save me. I had lost my identity and self worth. One night while crying on the phone to him he told me that he could fill my heart back up. Not understanding his response, he asked me if he could love me now. Finally, I agreed. Two years after reconnecting, we started dating in 2010, 10/10/2010 to be exact. In the two years that we were mending our friendship, I fell deeply in love with who he was. I had grown into a woman by this time and could appreciate his beauty within. He had been writing our love story from the day he opened the door and said "hello." We married on October 7, 2011. He has become a love story that I love to read over and over again.

asia and eric


Being from the same area, we were lucky enough to know of each other through mutual friends, but never met until college. In high school, Eric was busy being a star athlete while I was dating my high-school sweetheart whom I thought I would be with forever. But like many people, God had other plans for our lives. It wasn’t until college that our paths finally crossed at Eric’s 21st birthday celebration.

From that weekend on, we realized there was definitely something between us, and the countless trips back in forth from Coastal Carolina University to the University of South Carolina began. We spent the first year of our relationship long-distance, until Eric made the decision to attend Coastal Carolina for his graduate studies. We were finally able to do the things that other couples get to do all the time, like lazy Sundays and date nights during the week.

The excitement we were feeling continued through the remainder of college and came to an abrupt halt after our graduation. For the first time, we were struggling to find ourselves and uncover what the next chapter of our lives would bring. While Eric struggled with the decision to either pursue his basketball career or enter Corporate America, I struggled to define a clear career path that would give me fulfillment and purpose. The five months after graduating were a true testament to not only our mental toughness and ambition, but also in our ability to lean on each other in the moments that mattered most.

After countless applications and interviews, we have finally settled down in South Florida with careers that we love.  We have seen each other through a lot of tough situations and we thank God for the trials we’ve faced thus far. Each chapter has taught us a different lesson and we are stronger, wiser and closer because of the things we have gone through together. We are truly best friends and we’re blessed that things have fallen into place the way they have. We know that this is only the beginning!

Maine and Frye


Track. Wando 2011. Shuttle Hurdles.

The relay was before the 4 x 100 and SOMEBODY was in MY warm up lane. Of course it the darkest brotha on the team in the season "must have's", Usain Bolt inspired green and yellow pumas, that had to be the one talking junk. His high school, West Florence High School, was the home of my rival in the 400m. SOMEBODY slid into my DM's. All I saw was that ugly green and gold WFHS jersey in his profile picture. I crept through his pictures and once I saw that face...my eyes flashed back to that bold little black boy who was taking up my warm up lane. But, since he decided to be a fan and say, "Good race out there today", I decided to reply with a simple thank you and "lol smiley face". We would talk about track and sports, just like homies. We were on the phone all day and night watching Miami Heat games and Jersey Shore.

One day we were talking about colleges and he asked what college did I decide attend. I told him Coastal Carolina and he was like, "I'm speechless you're lying. I'm going there too." It was the weirdest thing! On my last day of my senior week in 2011, he asked me to be his girlfriend. We dated all four years of college. We've had a few off times, a couple breakups and heartbreaks. I've felt all of the sensations of love with him: The good, the bad, and the ugly. I met him as an 18 year old boy as I was an 18 year old girl. It's hard work being with someone as they're going through "growing pains" and you're still going through your own! One thing is fa-sho: he's the food to my soul. 

We sit in the floor and laugh until we cry, we quote Norbit, we pig out on carbs, and we finish each other's sentences. I love the way he watches me, knows when to hold my hand, walks on the side of traffic, and kisses my forehead 2x when he thinks I'm sleeping. Though he still gives me butterflies, He always makes my heart feel safe. 

GregAlan Williams


Actor Gregory Alan Williams has soared through Hollywood for decades. His latest project is OWN's television series Greenleaf. We spoke about his character as "Uncle Mac" on screen and the effect it had on him as a person. We also had a great conversation about his proud novel Heart of a Woman. It was recently released as an audiobook. Williams has a voice that truly intrigues his listeners. It was such a pleasure to speak with him!


Your book "Heart of a Woman" was published in 2009. It is now available as an audiobook. Could you tell us why it was important to release an audio version?

It was an opportunity for me to combine my writing and acting skills. I am narrating the book and I am the voice of all the characters. It was a challenge. There are lot of people who do not read, but they will listen. I could reach a broader audience of readers. You can listen to things on the train and the car. Technology is smarter and quicker.

Does your writing have a specific target audience?

My target audience are women and men of a certain age. I thought about the men and women of my generation, who remember Motown, Marvin Gaye, and Teddy Pendergrass. It is also for younger people who want to take a deeper glimpse into where life can take them when they make the right choices. Parts of the book can be a mirror for people. Young women with old souls have to be aware of their value in society. They have to understand the value of your beauty and how it is valued by older people. It took me four years to write this book. A lot of revision, research, writing, and perfecting went into it. I had two wonderful editors. I am excited about the audiobook, because it is its own thing.

Women have to look out for each other. Older and younger women have to help each other understand. In my book, the older guy tells Carla there’s a lot of value in youthful beauty. Sometimes women don’t understand their beauty until it is gone.
— Greg Alan


Would you ever consider writing a movie, play, or tv show?

I am not that interested in screenplays. With novels, I don’t need anybody else. I don't need the crew, cameras, or a million dollars. I could bury myself in it. With acting, it is a partner with all kinds of people. What I love about writing novels is that I can do it in the park. I could go in Red Lobster and work on a new book. It is a private and intimate kind of pursuit. 

How does it feel to play “the bad guy” on OWN’s Green Leaf?

Bad guys get a lot of attention on TV and movies. When you are playing the kind of bad guy who is really out there hurting people, it's not a lot of fun. It can be a challenge and you have to commit to it. It can weigh you down, because you have to be part of that darkness and play him true. Playing Uncle Mac true, means really wading into the dark places. I thought I was leaving all of him on the set, but I found out I was not. He is very dark, lonely, and sad. I was carrying some of that sadness with me. Anybody who serially hurts people and has to cover it up, lives a sad life. Some of that sadness stayed with me. Oprah put a video on Youtube about the "Mac" character, featuring a conversation with me. The conversation happened a few days after I realized the character was going to die. I was relieved, because I could finally talk about Mac and how playing him made me feel. Greenleaf brought back memories for people. I read comments on Facebook and I could tell who those people were. "Lord thank you for what You’ve given and thank you for what You’ve taken away.” At the end of Greenleaf's first season, I was able to do a movie called, A Question of Faith. I play a character full of life. I've been running around with the producers promoting this moving that is uplifting. That is the grace I've been given.

Facebook: GregAlan Williams

Twitter: GregAlanW



4 Your Eyez Only



Don’t give ‘em too much you. Don’t let ‘em take control. It’s one thing you do. Don’t let ‘em taint your soul. If you believe in God. One thing’s for sure. If you ain’t aim too high, then you aim too low.
— J. Cole

J. Cole is me in spiritual form. I can picture us vibin' hard, conversing about life, lighting one up, geekin' with our hair all nappy lol. His music is for everyone, but if you aren't in touch with the truth or spiritually inclined with humanity you won't get it. Cole, I've been rockin' with you since day one. Seeing you in Charlotte was a dream come true. I screamed, sang to the top of my lungs, and danced the entire show. I left your show happier with a sense of purpose for life. It is difficult for me to put into words. You spoke a lot of real. You were vulnerable in front of thousands of people. We saw beyond the surface.

You made your entrance in a bright orange prison jumpsuit, with "Property Of" across the back. The crowd could hear shackles cling as you walked. What better statement to make than that? The jumpsuit was a visual statement about police brutality and hatred against Black men. AmeriKKKa built a system to throw away our men. Black men are a product of this horrendous prison system. The day of your show, August 9, was the death anniversary of Mike Brown. The police officer who murdered Mike Brown saw him as nothing, he possibly envisioned him in shackles. Everything you rap about shines light on the cruelty against Black people. "Neighbors" is a perfect example of Blacks having to prove their wealth and social status. The SWAT team broke into your home and they found NOTHING. This is why your music is for everyone. Some people are not conscious enough to receive the message. If you are a person of color, J Cole's music is for you. 

"I think the neighbors think I'm selling dope.

I can't sleep cause I'm paranoid, Black in a White man territory. Cops bust in with the army guns. No evidence of the harm we done.

Only time they see us we be on the news with chains."

-J. Cole

You know the feeling of being at a party with other Black people? And, even if you don't know each other, it's going to be lit regardless? That is exactly what it felt like being at your concert. I was standing behind a group of Black boys who loved you just as much as my brother and I. We rapped and sang together. We shared the same excitement and love for your throwbacks. One of the guys were shook when you performed "Love Yourz", I mean real shook. Your show provided a space for us to be ourselves! 

No such thing as a life that’s better than yours. (Love Yourz) No such thing. No such thing.
— J. Cole

Dreamville is perfect, because we are all a bunch dreamers. And, right now all I have is A Dollar and a Dream. I will always remember the love and connection I felt during your show. It takes a special soul to reach someone they have never met...but one day will. J. Cole, I don't care if you never wear another iced out chain, comb your hair, or fix your crooked smile, just continue making music. I played all of your albums as I wrote this. Continue to keep us woke and conscious. 

I’ve got a feeling that there’s something more. Something that holds us together. Something that holds us together. The strangest feeling, but I can’t be sure. Something that’s old is forever. Something that’s old is forever. Love, Love, Love, Love.
— J. Cole