by Sheila Dianne Jackson
Once upon a time, before the age of podcasts, there was a very special radio show called ‘Girl Talk L.A.’ My first guest was match-maker and dating guru, Kymberly Jean. I first saw Kymberly on the Phil Donohue show, powerfully standing her ground in the face of raging white supremacists. Kymberly is the owner of the very first interracial dating service, Opposites Attract. We reconnected on social media, only to discover she is planning a relaunch in 2017.
Sheila: What an interesting time to relaunch, in the Trump era – at a time when racial tensions are much the same.
Kymberly: Back then a police officer had to sit at my door for days, and days and days. Once I did Oprah, everybody and their momma called. Then there was Donahue. Then Montel and Sally Jesse Raphael. I did Oprah first. Oprah will tell you if you do any other shows first, she won’t have you. After Oprah, everything just snowballed. Neo-natzi groups and the Ku Klux Klan would call me and announce themselves, and say what chapter they were from. They want you to know who they are. They want credit for their threats.
I was here before match.com, eHarmony or any of them. Back then, it was just me matching people from my office in Beverly Hills. I took a step back in the 90s before the Internet, and lived in Europe for a while. At that time, I felt it was better for me to step back, rather than to have people threaten my life.
Sheila: So why now? And what do you think may be different? Or the same?
Kymberly: Because the demand is there. You know a lot of sisters are dating outside their race, because they can’t find black men. So it’s a good time. The demand was primarily African-American women and it still is today, because those are the women who can’t find mates. I have white girlfriends just like you have white girl friends, who are single but they don’t have as big a problem as we do. Theirs is not a shortage of eligible men. Their issue is “I just haven’t met the right guy,” or “I don’t want to date online” or “I want a guy who has this or that amount of money.” Theirs is not “I can’t find a partner because there’s a shortage of eligible men” or because they’re in prison, or because a great percentage are marrying outside their race. That’s not their problem.
It has been my experience that when I do see black men with white women, 90% of the time the white women are paying for the date . Ninety percent of the time, even at Walmart, the grocery store, the movie theater, most of the time white women are paying. I think white women are fascinated with black men, in black sex – and black women have realized that black sex don’t pay bills.
Sheila: I think much of the problem between black women and black men has been a socio-economic and education gap; of black women opening and flexing to date men who make less money or have less education – and the many issues that come along with that. And I must say, I have noted an arrogance among the black men who are the “proverbial good catch” as they smell the desperation of black women who have bought into this lack and limitation scenario.
I am recently single again, and had refused to believe what I thought was ‘hype,’ that there is a shortage of ‘eligible’ black men. I often hear from my friends that black men don’t want to date black women.
My son had his first date a few months ago. After I dropped him off, I hung out in the area. I looked around to realize that my son was the only black man who was out with a black woman.
What spoke even more powerfully to me was during a trial membership on a dating site, a black man reached out to say he was surprised to find me so interesting, but that he essentially was not looking to date a black woman. I was floored.
Kimberly: The sad reality is we have been stigmatized as angry, black women. We’re difficult; we’re angry; we’re demanding; and we’re pushy. That’s what the black man is saying about us.
Sheila: That’s what the media is saying about us. And too many folks are buying into that image and narrative.
Kymberly: However that’s how our race has survived – not because black men were out there fighting and pushing. We survived because of the black moms and the black grandmothers. Now, 30 years later, what Grandma used to do back in the day…put her hand on her hip and say, “Boy don’t make me get my belt.” Now we’re ghetto. It’s the same thing. Times have changed.
Sheila: I feel that black women have been called upon to be strong. Then our men resent us and turn qualities that are actually assets and strengths, into negatives. Black women and black men bear a lot of shame and trauma that we have been unable to navigate and heal together.
Have you seen the articles that have come out over the last year or so, about why white billionaires find black women so appealing? They talk about the billionaire being a man who can appreciate the independence and smarts of a black woman.
Billionaire Ben Horowitz was quoted as saying, “…they are loyal and guard your interests. Black women are for grown-ups.”
Kymberly:: That makes sense to me.
Sheila: What disturbs me within all this is people who “only date” a certain race. I am uncomfortable with the thought of dating a white man who “only” dates black women. What is it that he expects to be consistent across the board for all of us? Will I be black enough? You know, I have friends of all races. And I certainly don’t see, for instance, all of my white girlfriends being pushovers. And I certainly don’t see a white man as having the edge on knowing how to treat a woman. I have dated and been treated very well by black men. I think we can become disillusioned very fast ascribing to these stereotypes.
Kymberly: I specialize not just in black and white, but in all races. Back in the day, I didn’t say I am only going to specialize in black women. But that’s who was hiring me. When I was on Oprah, everybody and anybody could have gotten with me, but black women were the ones in my office and on my phone. And now, it is the overwhelming requests from black women that brings me back.
The relaunch of Opposites Attract is slated for year’s end. Stay tuned to EveTalks as details unfold.