The “Nightline” Faceoff: Why Can’t a Successful Black Woman Find a Man, with Sherri Shepherd, Jacquie Reid, Hill Harper, and Jimi Izrael

Um, no I did not see it, although some on my black women’s listserve did. It was held in Atlanta, GA–one of the best Chocolate Cities where there are a lot of successful black women and men. And also, where a lot of missed signals and disappointments are occurring. Sherri Shepherd and Jimi Izrael are not exactly my cups to tea to represent black heterosexuality, but I know why they were chosen–they represent extremes. Eventually, I will check out some of what they said. But I felt that this was a waste of my time.

Steve Harvey (ahem!) and Vicki Mabrey of Nightline refereed.

Then again some of you may not know where to go to check this out. Okay, this is the link to the ABC website. And here are the first three hacked up chapters (doggone it, YouTube!). Apparently, this whole thing went on for more than two hours.

Lakeia Brown of The Root had five observations about what was learned at this talkathon:

1. It Takes Two to Tango. This ”epidemic” is not about black women. If black women are single and looking for love, then guess what, so are black men. The discussion needs to include both parties. Harper pointed out that the topic question of the forum left out the single man.

2. Smoke and Mirrors. Hill said at the start of the symposium that the big issue is saving the black family. Perfect example: Shepherd, a single mom, says she needs a man to show her little son how to use the bathroom standing up. Boys need men to show them how to be men. […]

3. ”This week he’s mopping floors/Next week it’s the fries/So, stick by his side.” Kanye suggests women seeing a man’s potential in his hit, ”Gold Digger.” Are women’s standards too high to start with? Izrael says that women should be the type of person they’re looking for. In other words, be realistic. Many women are looking for the next Jay-Z, but are they the next Beyoncé? Reid understands the idea of dating men with potential, but she stressed that it’s easier for a younger woman than for a woman in her 30s or 40s.

4. What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis? Women and men don’t communicate enough. Harvey says women should use their skill set to get men to talk more. And Harper suggests having small conversation parties where men and women can engage in dialogue.

5. Have faith. Check out Psalm 84:11, Proverbs 18:22 and Proverbs 31:30. There are things that both single men and women need to learn, prepare and fix before becoming a mate. (No point in rushing to get out of the ”single box” just to put yourself in the ”divorced box.”) The job of a single person is to wait patiently, pursue dreams, love friends and family, go on fabulous vacations and be friendly when their mate does surface. There is a time for everything. And for many black men and women, the time has just not arrived.


Frankly, there needs to be a revision of what it means to be a couple, and what it means to be a family in this day and age. And what are reasonable expectations beyond what the culture is saying. It’s not always the truth. There was a time black people did not go along with the program and created their own values about relationships and marriage. It doesn’t matter if you are 23 or 63 to check yourselves out. Discuss.

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~ by blksista on April 22, 2010.

One Response to “The “Nightline” Faceoff: Why Can’t a Successful Black Woman Find a Man, with Sherri Shepherd, Jacquie Reid, Hill Harper, and Jimi Izrael”

  1. The statistics and questions also don’t consider that black women, like all women, have free will; with that may come the desire to remain single in order to pursue their dreams, better understand themselves, define the parameters of relationships they might have or simple a need to be independent from the restrictions that come along with monogamy and marriage.

    It’s been argued that the standards of African American women are too high; that since they are increasingly earning college degrees, buying homes and starting businesses, they want or demand a man with the same thereby limiting their choices or emasculating any man who doesn’t measure up. It’s not often considered that any man, a real man looking for a partnership—which is what a marriage is supposed to be—should welcome a woman with means, intellect, and ability to assist the households rather than be threatened by it; that a “good” partner should want his other “half” to live up to her potential so that she is a healthy, happy and whole with and without him.

    Of course, so called experts so that women should lower their standards, even settle for someone who doesn’t meet their ideal just so they aren’t alone. I wonder if these same people consider this logic or fear of ending up alone, as we are when we enter the world, is one of the leading causes behind divorce and broken homes.
    I look at the rise of singles in this county in my book I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful, Single Black Women Speak Out. What I found is that while most people want someone to share their life with being about to fulfill your own dreams as an individual has gives women the opportunity get married for the right reasons and therefore have a healthier, better functioning, long lasting union.


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