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2019 Black Love Summit: Wise Words from Power Couples

By Kadejah Brathwaite, Intern

Tommy and Codie Oliver, creators of “Black Love,” the documentary series on the Oprah Winfrey Network, hosted their second annual Black Love Summit in Atlanta at the Mason Fine Art center on Saturday, July 20, 2019. Atlanta locals stood in line with their tickets eager to get in and learn about unique love experiences from talented, successful public figures like Erica and Warryn Campbell, Egypt Sherrod and DJ Fadelf, Dondre Whitfield and more.

2019 BLACK LOVE SUMMIT. “We felt that [having this show] would be important. We needed to have examples of loving Black people in relationships, and we needed the advice.” -Codie Oliver (left) Tommy Oliver (right)

The room was filled with the sounds of optimistic chatter and laughter from men and women of a variety of ages; some single, dating, newlywed or even decades into their marriages. I couldn’t help but notice the commonalities the attendees had—from their natural hair and eccentric styles to their desire to fellowship and relate to the similar experiences that each other had of being Black and simply wanting to find love.

Dondre Whitfield, an American actor who will be featured on season 3 of “Black Love” with his wife and actress, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, offered in the “Finding Black Love” discussion panel, “A relationship is a car that you need skill sets to know how to drive,” referring to the idea that no one gets in a car knowing exactly how to operate the vehicle, but like relationships, they must learn from their experiences in order to get better. He has also ventured into providing marital counseling and said that while acting is his passion, activation (guiding other married couples) is his purpose.

2019 BLACK LOVE SUMMIT. “The key to growth is being uncomfortable.” -Dondre Whitfield

Grammy award-winning gospel artist and radio host, Erica Campbell and her husband and record producer, Warryn Campbell, touched on the topic of purpose when I asked them how they manage to individually walk in their purposes as a married couple.

“Our marriage is also a ministry,” Erica Campbell said, as her husband nodded in agreement and watched her in adoration. “We are called to push each other and not allow the other to give up.”

“I make room for her in my purpose,” Warryn Campbell added, mentioning that they help each other fulfill their marriage by supporting and listening to each other.

2019 BLACK LOVE SUMMIT. “Submission didn’t make me weak. It made me considerate.” -Warryn Campbell (left) Erica Campbell (right)

The live event continued with several other panels that provided gems on handling money efficiently, parenting and what submission should look like in a marriage.

2019 BLACK LOVE SUMMIT. “To submit means giving in to love. I don’t have to let my ego lead.” -Egypt Sherrod (left) Dj Fadelf (right)

2019 BLACK LOVE SUMMIT

Tommy Oliver could be found making sure everything was going smoothly behind the scenes and speaking on panels. Every now and then, he would whip out his camera and pause to capture moments of his wife in action. While balancing work and their personal lives is difficult, Tommy Oliver said he does his best to be intentional in both areas. The couple chose Atlanta to be the home of their second annual Black Love Summit, because Atlanta has been supportive of “Black Love” since day one.

“We are grateful that [the documentary] has resonated and that we have removed the shame of going to get help or learning things about life,” Codie Oliver said.

Season 3 of “Black Love” will premiere Aug. 10, 2019, on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

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