Worth The Wait: These NOLA Lovers Dated For 10 Years Before Jumping The Broom

How We Met

How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.

In 2005, Keyshia Cole's hit single, "Love" hit the airwaves and had everybody and they mama singing off-key. Little did the singer know, a Louisiana love that's more than a decade in the making was actually conceived thanks to one of her concerts in Baton Rouge that same year.

Love is a dangerous game that can either be a whirlwind miracle or hit you like beautiful disaster. NOLA-born bridal coach Pep and her husband, Ebo Holman, met only months before Hurricane Katrina, but not even a storm of the largest magnitude could manage to keep these one-day lovers apart. The couple told xoNecole that they first crossed paths randomly during a casual encounter that would eventually blossom into a lifelong blessing.

I think we all have at least one pair of shoes that are absolutely adorable but impossible to walk in, and in Pep's case, those uncomfortable heels walked her right into the presence of the man she was destined to marry. While waiting for some friends after the concert, she was approached by a handsome stranger with good conversation.

Afterward, the two parted ways, but it wouldn't be long before they reconnected. The couple's hour-long conversation turned into a breakfast date via phone the next morning, but due to the sudden devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina, it would be months before they went on their first real date. After making it official, they carried this patience into their relationship and waited nearly 10 years to jump the broom.

Although we as women are sometimes quick to put a deadline on relationship milestones, Pep says patience and discernment were the keys to securing the man of her dreams. She told xoNecole, "Some people may feel like it's a waste of time. Maybe maybe not. I also see people date for two years and get divorced by year five. It's really no formula to it. It's just two people who are good for each other and that's the magic sauce. It's not about a time thing, it's about who I want to be with. So often we allow people to tell us where we should be, what we should be doing. And that can really affect us."

What God had his hands on, no man, woman, or natural disaster can get in the way of, and this was especially true for Pep and Ebo who later fell madly in love and made it official in a Nola-Ghanaian fused wedding that nearly broke the internet.


14 years after that Keyshia Cole concert, Pep and Ebo share a home in New Orleans and are still in love. Pep shared, "The more and more I got to know him and I got to know his character, I learned from him. Like how to treat other people, how to be a good gift giver, how to appreciate other people. Then I was like, well this is somebody who I want in my life because he was always showing me different layers of himself, but every layer that I peel back was good. I was just like, fuck that. I'm not letting this person go. So that's why on the inside of my wedding band, I have never let go. Cause I was like, I'm never letting go. This person is mine. This is my person."

The couple recently sat down with me to talk about that fateful night, the 10-year journey to the altar, and how they keep their love alive after more than a decade.

How They Met

Pep: At the time I was doing Army recruiting and I was passing through Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And a friend of mine called and asked did I want to go to a Keyshia Cole concert. And this was in 2005, June 2005. And I said, sure, but I can't drive my government car, so I'll need a ride. So I rode with my friends to the concert. Well because I rode with them, I had to wait for them to finish up. While I was waiting for them, I was standing outside and I heard this guy say, "Oh my God, you're walking gingerly.'" And I said, "Gingerly? Well, at least my toes are done." And he said, "Well, let me see." And then that turned into like a one-hour conversation and he introduced himself. I introduced myself and we talked and we exchanged numbers and that was pretty much how we met.

The Morning After

Ebo: I have a little thing that I do. Like most guys, they wait two days, three days, you know, and people forget you after a while. So I actually called her the next day and asked [if] she wanted to go out to eat, but she was leaving. I was living in Baton Rouge [at the time] and she was leaving to go back to New Orleans. But you know, I kinda like strike while the iron's hot. I don't usually wait for the individual to, you know, forget you. So that was my little thing that I kind of did that I think helped me out.

Pep: Yeah, I think it helped, but what he's not saying that he didn't call me the next day. He called me the next morning like, early in the morning, like rooster early. Like… it was 6 a.m., I thought it was insane. But the crazy part was, that I was actually up because I was driving back. So it's really early and I was actually pulling into Jack In The Box. I was getting some breakfast and he called and I was like, "Okay, who is this?" And he's like, "Oh, this is Ebo. You know, we were talking last night." And I said, "Hello?!" You know, like, are you serious? Why did you call me so early?" He said, "Well, I called you so early so that you wouldn't forget me because I know you probably met other people last night. And I just didn't want you to forget me." And that was like… Oh. And then he said, "I'm thinking just you might be up because you said you were in the army, so I figured you may be a morning person." But I'm not a morning person.

Making It Official

Pep: We made it official Easter 2006 and we were on a trip together. We came in from Baton Rouge and we got a room at the W in New Orleans for Easter weekend and we went out to eat and we were just hanging out. And my mom called and asked like, "Well, what are you doing?" I said, "Well, I'm here, with Ebo. And we're just hanging out." And my mom was like, "Well, what is that? The boyfriend? 'Cause it's a holiday, like you don't just hang out with people unless you really dating them or something like that." And I just was kind of like, "Uh..." and I was looking at him and he was nodding like, "Yeah, we together, right?" And I was like, "Yeah." And that was it. It was like very impromptu and we've been together ever since.

Ebo: Like we really crawled our way even to that point. We talked for a long time, we were just hanging out, we were doing a lot of boyfriend-girlfriend kind of things with no titles. So it was like pretty much like we almost understood in each other's minds, at least my mind until we actually said it out loud.

"We really crawled our way to that point. We talked for a long time, we were just hanging out, we were doing a lot of boyfriend-girlfriend kind of things with no titles. It was like pretty much like we almost understood in each other's minds until we actually said it out loud."

The One

Pep: I don't think it was one moment [that I knew he was the one]. I think it was a series of moments. When I could just be myself more and more and more. And once I was able to really, really, truly be myself, that's when I knew like, 'Okay, this is somebody who I could keep around,' you know? There was a level of consistency with him, like he never changed up. He was always the same person. Like the sun rises every day and it sets every day. I promise you.

"There was a level of consistency with him, like he never changed up. He was always the same person. Like the sun rises every day and it sets every day."

Baggage Claim 

Ebo: Well, I mean, there's always going to be some sort of disagreement. We've argued before and it got heated, but it's never anything that's disrespectful and never anything that's a final thought. We're different personalities. I'm calm, she's excited. I'm a slightly neater person. So we have disagreements, but I mean in the grand scheme of things is just common, you're going to have to have disagreements. And you don't try to be hurtful to the individual you love like a stranger on the street. Some people blur those lines and say hurtful things to people that they love. And I think some people treat their loved ones, or their wife, or their girlfriend, like a person on the street and say hurtful things. Why would you do that?

Pep: When you know, when you are arguing with someone, you know your limits. That there are some things you can't come back from. You know, I'm aware that saying certain things could escalate an argument or tiny disagreement to like, something of monumental proportions. So I think when you're having a disagreement with anyone, but especially with your spouse, you just can't say everything that comes to your mind. You just have to just say, you know what, it's just a moment. It'll pass.

Love Lessons 

Ebo: Well I would say, take it seriously. I would have friends, they dated for a year or two years, and get married. They treat marriage like they're dating, rather than treating it like it's marriage. It is something different than boyfriend and girlfriend is, it is something different than having a fiance, and a lot of people don't look at it as something different. They look at is like, 'It's my girlfriend part two or an extension of our dating life,' and it's not that.

Pep: Number one, you have to go at your own pace and you set your timeline. So when we were starting out dating, and we didn't get engaged until we had dated for a decade. We dated 10 years, most people would have thrown in the towel. And the people who look at that and say, 'Oh look, I wouldn't date somebody for that long and I wouldn't do this, and I wouldn't do that.' They jumped into a marriage after two years of knowing a person and they jump right back out because they don't even know that person.

So I would say get to know the person. And don't look at the people's relationship and feel like that's what you should be doing based off of what they're doing, or what everybody else's timeline is. And if it takes five years, if it takes two years, if it takes 10 years, that's your business. Nobody else's business, it's yours. Some people may say, 'Y'all had a celebration for your wedding,' and you damn right. We were celebrating being together for a decade and starting a new chapter because we deserved it and we knew each other front and back.

"I would have friends, they dated for a year or two years, and get married. They treat marriage like they're dating, rather than treating it like it's marriage. They look at is like, 'It's my girlfriend part two or an extension of our dating life,' and it's not that."

Building Together

Pep: We have some business ideas that we want to work as husband and wife and we think it would be a great thing for us to work together. I have my business The Bridal Citizen already. We just plan on living and being model citizens. Doing good for our community and giving back. Starting with the one business and keeping it up and going forward.

Ebo: She's the dreamer. I'm kind of like a foundation-type of individual. Like she brings in the ideas. I'm more of like, like stack on stack, on stack, on stack, like a financial foundation. I'm the stable individual. She might come up with an idea for a business and I may say, "Let's buy a property," you know, so it's a yin and yang deal. We have different directions for growth, but we do agree that multiple streams of income in our future is going to be the only way to be comfortable and live a fruitful life.

The Best Part

Ebo: Her lightheartedness. She does things that out of the norm, from just like a random blurting out random like rap verses or something that you don't expect that she will know. Just unexpected humor. That's what I love the most.

Pep: His ability to always move forward. We have had moments that would probably bring most people to their knees because they were so gripping. My dad died, and just other things that have happened to us, you know. There have been times where I was just beside myself, you know, trying to figure out how do I pick up the pieces, how do I move forward? And Ebo has this way of being really, really silent, but really confident. Like it's a quiet confidence that is very comforting and reassuring. It's a quiet, reassuring confidence that he exudes that just lets me know like, okay, we're going to get past it, whatever it is, we're going to be able to get past it. And that is what I appreciate.

This couple proves that true love is definitely worth the wait. You can keep up with Pep and Ebo on Instagram!

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.


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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