Idris Elba Just Gave Us One Of The Best Relationship Words—EVER

Love & Relationships

Like at least half of the free world, I've always had a bit of a thing for Idris Elba. Only, my reason is probably a little different. In many ways, he really does remind me of my first love (I'd post a pic but my exes endure me using them as content enough without my giving up visuals too). It took me FOR-E-VER to really get past the man I fell for back when I was a freshman in college. But, back in 2015, when I went on my customized get-your-heart-pieces-back tour, he and I made peace. We expressed that we would always love each other; we just…will never work, in that way—again.

Here's the thing, though. When there is peace between two people, you truly want what's best for him. My ex? I want him to find his, what I call, "now one". And, although a sistah has had her fair share of fantasies about Sir Elba, I am thrilled that he has as well.

I have a pretty good memory and I remember when Idris insisted that he was never getting married ever again. Remarkably, it wasn't all that long ago (two summers ago, to be exact). Yet here he is, a married man, with him and his beloved Sabrina Dhowre gracing the July issue of British Vogue's bridal edition, showing everyone that Black love is still alive and doing very well (thank you very much).

When I watched some video footage of them at the last Met Gala (on People's site), it was dope how, although he is the celebrity, she is clearly his star. I liked that they both spoke freely and equally in interviews and also how comfortable they were in one another's space. Their energy conveyed that they were in love yes, yet they really are in like too. Dope.

I think something that Idris said in his British Vogue interview about his relationship with his wife is probably why everything seems so…healthy:

"Sabrina has deepened friendships with people I've known longer than [her], nurturing the best side of me to make me connect to my friends more."

Nurture. Sabrina nurtures him. I personally find that word to be a relationship superpower and something everyone should look for in their own "now one". If you give me a sec, I'll break down why I say that.

To Be Nurtured Is to Be “Fed”

A few weeks ago, I was schooling one of my 29-year-old friends on A Different World. That show will forever be in my top five of favorites. There's one episode that features Whitley realizing that her boyfriend Julian was not going to support her in her desire to become an art buyer. When she vented all of that to Dwayne, he said (among other things), "You need someone who is going to feed you, Whitley."

Five-star dinners would be nice, but I'm pretty sure that Dwayne was coming from the "supply with nourishment" (which is basically what nurture means). One of the best synonyms for nourish is "cultivate". To be cultivated is to receive the special kind of attention that helps you to thrive, both personally as well as professionally.

The late-yet-still-great Dr. Myles Munroe used to talk about the power of a man cultivating a woman. He defines cultivate as "to bring out the best in everything around you". There's absolutely no way you can't thrive if your partner is committed to the cultivating process. Cultivate is such a beautiful word.

To Be Nurtured Is to Be “Supported and Encouraged”

I have a married male friend who is very accomplished. Something that he used to say often was, "It's very hard to go home to a woman who complains all of the time. I'd rather stay out in the world where I am respected and celebrated." What's interesting about that statement is, I was just talking to another married male friend who is currently going through a divorce. Something he said he told his soon-to-be ex is, "You are supposed to be my source of strength, not the very thing that weakens me."

Whenever I hear stuff like this, I visualize a game with cheerleaders on the sideline. The gender of the players and cheerleaders are completely interchangeable. The point is that we all need folks who are going to cheer for us, honor us, have our backs, get us through the tough times—make us feel like if no one else can be relied upon for encouragement and support, they can be. Consistently so too.

Many relationships have crashed and burned because one or both individuals refused to endure the challenging times (which is what support means) and/or inspire their partner to soar to new heights (which is what encouragement does). Don't sleep on how much your partner needs both of these things. It's critical to your relationship's health and longevity.

To Be Nurtured Is to Be “Strengthened”

A clear indication that you're in the kind of relationship you should get out of (or at least get counseling for) is if your connection with someone is making you weaker instead of stronger. When a relationship is truly strengthening you, it will, by the mere definition of strong, help to make you "mentally powerful or vigorous" and "especially able, competent, or powerful". It will even be a source "of great moral power, firmness, or courage".

If what you're currently in has you on a non-stop emotional roller coaster ride, it causes you to question your worth or value or (catch this one) it puts your own morals and value system into influx just so you can make it "work", your relationship is doing the very opposite of what it should be doing—both to and for you.

To Be Nurtured Is to Be “Cherished”

If you've been to more than three weddings before, you've probably heard the word "cherish" come up in the marriage vows. It's also in the Bible; in the New King James Version, only twice. It's in reference to Christ (peep it) nourishing and cherishing his church (Ephesians 5:29) and a nursing mother cherishing her children (I Thessalonians 2:7).

Cherish is clearly a very special and sacred word. It means that, not only are you being cared for, but you're receiving the TLC kind of treatment. It means that the object of your affection has a deep love for you. It means that they see and treat you like a real treasure. It also means that they embrace you and are attached to you (in the non-stalker or codependent type of way, of course).

This brings me back to something else that Idris said about his relationship that I really liked. He said that he and Sabrina have been "literally inseparable since we met." Nothing about them appears to be that way because they need to be; I'm pretty sure it's like that because they want to be.

Does your partner cherish you? Do you cherish your partner?

To Be Nurtured Is to Be “Supplied with What Is Necessary for Life, Health and Growth”

Wholeness. Something that I strive to be and encourage the singles that I talk to be as well is whole before ever getting with someone else.

I'd much rather choose someone who helps my already-full-cup to overflow than someone who will fill deep bottomless voids.

So yeah, when Idris said, "You know, I'm 47 this year, been married and lived a full life before I even met Sabrina. It wasn't something that I wanted to do, get married again. But …", as someone who's never been married before and will be turning 45 in a couple of weeks, I felt that all up in my soul and spirit.

Idris has lived a full life. FULL LIFE. He loved being single. Now he loves being married. Sabrina is not "giving him a life" so much as she's going to be a source of what takes him to another level in it. Y'all this—all of this—is what nurturing does. So yes, Sir Idris Elba. I don't know if when you said that Sabrina nurtured you that you realized that you preached the sermon for the week, but I'll pass the offering plate around for you one time because you certainly blessed me.

Until I can define my relationship with a man as being "nurturing", I'll keep living a full life as a single woman. Thanks for leading by example on that tip. I appreciate you and yours.

Featured image by Sky Cinema / Shutterstock.com

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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
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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