The Jay-Z and B effect

The Jay-Z and B Effect.

By now, I’m sure we’ve all seen the articles and statistics regarding the demise of marriage in the Afro-American community. Numerous articles have been written such as this one in the Washington Post by Joy Jones, “Marriage is for White People” (…), whose premise is that perhaps marriage is for white folks. And the breakdown in the family in the African-American community is widely accepted as being at the root of the challenges we see there today. At every turn and every news outlet, we see more bad news suggesting to us, we will not make it as a people.

But a funny thing happened on the way to societal Armageddon, black folks started getting married again. In the past year within my circle of family and friends, I’ve been invited to six weddings and have been made aware of two additional engagements. And while you may question the validity of my sample size, I know it to be true that we’ve turned a corner in the lives of a people. Just as I knew the Tech sector was making a comeback well before the talking heads on CNBC declared to be so, because all my techie friends were getting calls last January, I know too the wedding alter is no longer the lost artifact of an age gone by. But alas the media will not discover this new trend until sometime in 2011. And being positive news, it will be buried on page 64, if mentioned at all.

And if I am correct, why is this so? Why now? Well, I’m sure if you ask a sociologist, they’ll suggest that it has something to do with the economy and how the downward turn caused people to look more toward family than material things. Surely, every storm carries its own blessing, and while I certainly believe the economy has played a role, I think another, less obvious event served as the tipping point (shout out to Malcolm Gladwell). Jay-Z and Beyonce got married. In effect Jay-Z and Beyonce have made it “cool” to be married. And perhaps the most impressive part of their union, is that it really seems to be more about the marriage than the wedding. And by not allowing their wedding to be the media spectacle it could have been, they have also conveyed a subtle, unmistakable statement, that it’s not about the pomp and ceremony as much as it is the love and commitment.

This power couple were preceded by Will and Jada, Brad and Angelina (blacks folks love them both) and more recently Alicia Keys and Swiss Beats. And although I’m sure that some will cast stones at each of these, each has shown that marriage is the goal, something which has been missing in the black community (Side note: Having an Angelina, Alicia Keys or Sade, for that matter, coming after your man, is like the IRS coming after your assets, meaning, that it’s really beyond your control. However, having such an Iconic woman, with worldwide swag in your personal circle, wanting your man, is highly unlikely). But none of these couples resonates in the black community as well as Jay-Z and Beyonce, and none could have created a point of inflection (intentionally or not) as these two have.

Having said this, Jay-Z and Beyonce have feet of clay, just like the rest of us. But they have set upon a good course and that is all any of us can do each and every day or our lives.

So, “if you like, put a ring on it”.

Alan Jones

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p.s. We all, regardless of race, will make it. Adaptation is what we, the human species, do. We were built for this.

p.p.s. Men have a choice, regardless of who steps to them.