OWN’s Black Loveis in its sixth and final season, with new episodes featuring couples including Adrienne “Gammy” Banfield-Norris and Rodney Norris, DJ Envy and Gia Casey, Remy Ma and Papoose, Ashley Blaine Featherson Jenkins and Darroll Jenkins, JB Smoove and Shahidah Omar, Sonequa Martin-Green and Kenric Green and more.
The four-time NAACP-nominated docuseries was created by husband-and-wife filmmakers Codie and Tommy Oliver, and offers a nice respite from shows like Marriage Bootcamp or the Love and Marriage series, featuring conversations on relationship topics and a refreshing glimpse into the love lives of some of our favorite Black couples who are business leaders, hosts, entertainers, and influencers.
xoNecole caught up with the Olivers, as well as the Norrises about the show and their own journeys in love:
On what to expect for the final season:
Codie Oliver: The overarching theme is what I titled ‘The Finale,’ which is ‘relationship goals.’ And I called it that ironically because ‘relationship goals’ is one of those terms that suggests perfection. We throw that on people who we like. The reality is that, to me, in my experience of doing all these interviews and putting this together, [the] real relationship goal is authenticity and alignment in your partnership.
The title is meant to be ironic. They talk about it explicitly—several of the couples—and what that title means to them, how they feel about having that placed on them, and hopefully our series has shown, again, that the real goal is to be in alignment with your partner and nothing else really matters.
"The reality is that, to me, in my experience of doing all these interviews and putting this together, [the] real relationship goal is authenticity and alignment in your partnership."
By Elton Anderson
The Olivers on authentic connection in their relationship:
Codie: To me, that alignment, that checking in with self and with [a] partner about, like, what do we really want and what do each decision mean for us, whether that is the amount of travel that we are doing or not doing, [or] the amount of time spent working versus with our kids. So, it’s that checking with self and checking in with my partner about what’s making us happy in various phases of life. [It's] recognizing that with every season comes something new, whether it’s ‘newlywed’ or ‘new parent’ or ‘parent of three,’ and that constant conversation around, ‘Are we working to achieve the same goals, small or large?’ ‘Are we happy with how this relationship is progressing and how can we change that or make adjustments to it to make it more fulfilling for both of us?’ I think that’s important for all relationships.
Tommy: During [the pandemic] I really enjoyed being around [Codie] all the time, being around my kids all the time. I also knew it wouldn’t be the case forever, so I made sure to appreciate it for what it was at that point. And so, hopefully, it would be something different. Marriages, relationships, and partnerships—these things have seasons, and you’re in a different one. In a long marriage, you’re going to go through a lot of different seasons and a lot of different experiences and for me, it’s about figuring out how to adapt to where we are because I plan for us to be together for more than the next 20 years. I’m going to do my part to make sure that you want to be with me for more than the next 20 years.
"Marriages, relationships, and partnerships—these things have seasons, and you’re in a different one. In a long marriage, you’re going to go through a lot of different seasons and a lot of different experiences and for me, it’s about figuring out how to adapt to where we are because I plan for us to be together for more than the next 20 years."
Taylor Hill / Contributor/Getty
The Norrises on why they chose to join the cast:
Rodney Norris: We were fans of the show from the very beginning. Never thought we’d be on it, but when the opportunity presented itself, we felt like we had a story to tell as well. Our relationship has been very positive and that’s what Black Love represents. So, from that perspective, we felt like our story could be an addition to it.
Adrienne Banfield-Norris: I agree. We love Black Love and actually tried to manifest being on the show because we were shouting out Black Love on IG and on my podcast Positively Gam, and it came to be. We’re excited to be part of it.
On reconnecting and the thread that keeps them together:
Adrienne: The most important thing is friendship. Besides the love, do you like him? Do you have fun together? Do you enjoy being in each other’s company? To me, that is the most important thing because, I think, a lot of times friendship is what is going to seal the relationship—just really seal the bond.
Rodney: I agree. And at some point, you have to communicate. You can only have sex but for so much during the course of the day, and then after that, there’s 23 hours left. What are you going to do? You have to talk about something. Do you get along? I think the friendship is very important.
On navigating differences in a relationship:
Adrienne: One of the most important things about Rodney is that he does not believe in [raising] his voice. Communication is of the utmost importance. When I get angry, I immediately go to the ra-ra. I’m going to cuss you out, I’m going to do all of that. Yell. Scream. And I had to be willing to do the work on me, because that was not something he was going to tolerate in the relationship.
So you have to be able to communicate and be able to talk things out rationally and hear one another. That was one of the things. He said, ‘If you’re screaming and hollering, I can’t even hear you.’ So you have to be able to communicate in a way that both of you are able to hear one another’s perspective and hope that you will be able to come to a compromise.
The final season of Black Love is currently airing on OWN.
OFFICIAL TRAILER: The 6th & Final Season of Black Love | Black Love | OWN
Featured image by Unique Nicole/WireImage/Getty