#LoveMeLike is a beautiful and affirming hashtag started by @Blackamazon with over 6,000 tweets published where Black women spoke honestly about the type of love we need and deserve. This wasn’t just about romantic love in a heteronormative frame (especially for me as an ace) as some would expect but about love as affirmation of humanity, as power and as justice, which would include that aforementioned frame and much more. The Huffington Post's Black Voices featured the hashtag and included my first tweet above in the article Hashtag #LoveMeLike Takes Twitter By Storm As Black Women Share Empowering Messages. To see all of the tweets sent from everyone, not just my own on my own blog, click the hashtag link above.
The hashtag surfaced after a few Black men asked what do Black men love about Black women and unfortunately many (not all) of the replies only mentioned Black women as objects of labor or loyalty, not as humans worth loving outside of service. @Blackamazon asked:
Black women, how do we want to be loved? How do we need to be loved? Because we can love Black women. But do we love Black women enough to honor their requests, their self determination? It’s easy to love something when you feel it can’t make demands back but LOVE, loving someone to be the best they want to be?
One complaint that I saw surface was that the conversation was too “political.” I mentioned this:
Personal is political. If you think love—especially for Black women—doesn’t involve the political, you’ve gotta re-examine the last four centuries. When Black men name reasons they don’t love Black women, most are shaped by patriarchy and the White Gaze. And those two things are political. How love is expressed is more than sexual romantic and matters for Black women more than just dating. Thus, to claim Black women are “forcing” feminism into love? No. If lack of love we receive is shaped by oppression, we need anti-oppression terms. Anti-oppression is inherently personal. There is no way to remove my need for humanity and freedom from discussions on love.
Of course self-love is critical, but self-love alone is not justice. Again, love is more than romantic, sexual, or heteronormative. Love isn’t about “earning” humanity through “respectability,” through others’ perception of Black women having "enough" self esteem to be deemed lovable or having our humanity on trial to just to gain basic respect. Black women knowing how we want to be loved matters.
I found this tag to be very moving and affirming and I’m glad to have been a part of it. It’s a womanist act to see ourselves worthy of love and to be able to name what that love looks like, especially since Black women being denied our humanity, let alone love, is standard in this oppressive society.
Love me like you have the willingness to affirm what I’ve stated here for myself and for other Black women who relate without the need to derail this post or harm me.
"Without justice there can be no love." - bell hooks