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When Grief Brought This Couple Together, They Knew It Was Love

They became each other's light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Our First Year

In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take an in-depth look at love and relationships between couples with an emphasis on what their first year of marriage was like.

When life hits you with unexpected news, like the loss of a loved one, it can be difficult to know how to move on. Grief is something we all experience and it is something that stays with us forever. But it is within grief that we try to find the joy in order to keep moving forward. That was the case for Briana Hampton, who is an entrepreneur/author based out of Atlanta, Georgia. After losing her mother to cancer in 2015, Briana navigated through her grief by trying her best with keeping herself busy in her career as a model.


One day, when Briana sent a Facebook message to her now-husband Robert Hampton, aka Latruth, about a possible career opportunity, she did not expect her life to take a turn for the better. Now after four years of marriage, both Briana and Robert are enjoying life to the fullest.

The couple was able to sit down with xoNecole and share more on how their initial connection has kept them married after all these years. For Briana and Robert, it was the ability to connect on an experience that is one of the hardest realities to have to endure. The way Briana and Robert could relate to each other would be how they took a chance on love. After months of talking, the couple knew immediately that they wanted to take things to the next level. While they met one another and bonded over the feeling of grief, they were each other's light to get out of a familiar dark tunnel. Here's what they had to share.

How They Met

Briana: "I reached out to him via Facebook. At the time, I was a model and I reached out to him for a promotion opportunity. He responded and asked me for my number and till this day, I still haven't gotten that promo (laughs). When he called me, I thought we were going to talk about how much the shoot was going to cost and stuff. But it led to asking questions to get to know more about me and after I realized what he was doing, I figured to just see where this was going to go. While we were talking, we got to the topic of my mom passing away recently. He shared that his mother passed away from cancer too. Instantly, that was a click for me."

Robert: "Yeah, that's the gist of how we met. When I saw her message and looked at her photos, I thought she was very beautiful. After she gave me her number, I contacted her and just went from there. I lost my mom when I was five years old. I don't think I ever met anyone else who lost their mom too. When she mentioned her mom recently passed, that was definitely something that made me take the wall down and open up to her more. We talked for hours into days without seeing each other face to face. So the chemistry between us was built."

"When she mentioned her mom recently passed, that was definitely something that made me take the wall down and open up to her more. We talked for hours into days without seeing each other face to face. So the chemistry between us was built."

The One

Briana: "When my mom passed away, I was going through it. So when I met him, I was grieving her and I felt all the signs of her were coming through him. Whether it was our conversation and just our similarities, I felt my mom sent me an angel. Even our moms were similar in many ways that I just said, 'I got it, I am listening.' I knew that this was the person for me. Since my children's father, I never took anyone seriously. So when we were able to bond with each other's children, that made me more certain about him. When I moved to Atlanta, I expressed that for the long-term, I want marriage. I knew he was the man I wanted to be with and the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. He was my biggest cheerleader and that was it for me. He wasn't someone that wanted to control me, but wanted what was best for me and the family. He wanted to be the man to lead us down the right path."

Robert: "For me, it's loyalty over love. You meet a lot of people and they say they love you, but the loyalty doesn't match. I could tell that she was different from other women when it came down to loyalty, so that was key for me. Also, like she said, allowing me to lead was big for me. I don't think I've experienced love like this. For somebody to love me the way she loved me, that was it for me. With both of our moms passing and being able to be there for each other, we supported each other when times were hard. She also enjoys me being around her. I really believe that being with her, it's like my oxygen. You feel you can't breathe without her."

Biggest Fears

Robert: "My biggest fear was being with a woman who didn't understand my career. I worked my whole life in the entertainment industry. So I wanted someone who understood what that meant for me and who supported me in my career. I know with entertaining, it is hard to trust entertainers. Being more communicative with one another and building that trust helped me let go of my fears."

Briana: "My biggest fear was being with someone that will end up failing me and my children. Mainly putting my trust into something and it doesn't succeed. How I was able to let go of that fear was me paying more attention to his actions and less go by his words. We may seem like we disagree with something, but his actions will tell me that he is listening and he cares. He makes me feel secure and that is what means the most to me."

"I knew he was the man I wanted to be with and the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. He was my biggest cheerleader and that was it for me. He wasn't someone that wanted to control me, but wanted what was best for me and the family. He wanted to be the man to lead us down the right path."

Baggage Claim

Briana: "One thing I will say is that my husband is very friendly. So there were some flirting issues in the beginning of our marriage. I don't have a problem with people being friendly. But it is the way you go about it that gives a woman the idea that she has a chance with you is what bothers me. When you engage with someone in that way, they are going to take advantage of that. It was hard for me to communicate that that kind of behavior hurt my feelings. Over time, I had to learn how to actively communicate my feelings to him. I also had to grow accustomed to how the entertainment world works. Since then, he has changed his approach when he engages with other women. I think it is much better than before. He has changed the flirting a lot since then, for me."

Robert: "I don't feel like Briana had any habits for her to break. I just felt like she needed to understand more how the entertainment business works. Coming into the marriage, I have a huge fanbase and it is mostly women. With that, I handle certain situations the way I handle it and sometimes my wife wasn't comfortable with that. But after some time, I was able to show her that this is mainly business and that I separate that from personal. I had to be more mindful on how my behavior affects her and be more considerate. Before marriage, I was a single guy and I never had anyone question anything that I do. It was definitely an adjustment for me because I felt in the back of my mind that I was always doing something wrong at first."

Love Lessons

Briana: "The most important lesson I've learned is how to listen better and be able to effectively communicate. It's important to listen to understand someone instead of listening just to respond. Let me tell you, I'm a Cancer, so if you try to hurt me, a Cancer will hurt you back! (Laughs) I was never taught how to effectively communicate my feelings, so it was a learned behavior to be in defense mode instead of speaking about how I really feel."

Robert: "For me, the biggest lesson is realizing that something that may seem small to me, may be major for the other person. I think that is in a lot of relationships. Going back to me being used to just doing what I want to do. When you are in a partnership, you can't do what you want to do anymore (laughs). So being able to understand each other's perspective on things and take a moment in the other person's shoes was helpful for me in this marriage."

"I make it a point to continue to date my husband within our marriage. Dating each other helps us learn more about each other as we grow over the years and elevate in different areas."

Best Advice

Briana: "I wasn't given any advice about marriage going into it. What I will say is that even though you are married to someone, it is important to keep the fire alive. I make it a point to continue to date my husband within our marriage. Dating each other helps us learn more about each other as we grow over the years and elevate in different areas."

Robert: "I didn't get any advice either. I had to learn a lot of things on my own. I do hate that I didn't get any advice, but I wish that someone that told me about how to handle conflict. You have to handle things differently after you make this commitment. Growing up, I didn't have a lot of people guiding me. But I always made the right decision when it came to doing the right thing. I think that speaks volumes about my character as a man."

For more of the Hamptons, follow them on Instagram @mrslatruth and @_latruth.

Featured image via The Hamptons

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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