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Lauren Speed Reveals The Hardest Part Of Loving Cameron Hamilton

I had to learn how to be a wife ...

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As a person who rarely watches TV and doesn't get into a lot of shows, especially reality TV, I've been seriously pondering over what made me so invested in Netflix's #LoveIsBlind series.

The show was set up as a social experiment where they took 30 women and men, cut them off from the real world, and set them up on rounds of speed dating for 14 days to see if strong connections would be made. At the end of the 14 days, six couples walked out of the pods engaged, and they were whisked off to Mexico where they would spend time with each other for the first time. Only five couples made it out of Mexico, and they were thrust back into the real world to take on the task of meeting each other's friends and family and having to explain that they were in love and would be getting married in less than 30 days to someone they had just met just two weeks prior.

Whew chile, the mess of it all, but I couldn't stop watching!

After watching a cringe-worthy scene that involved the only black man that got shine on the show yelling at his fiancee, "That's why I don't date b*tches like you," a crass statement made after she couldn't quite process that he forgot to tell her he dated both men and women, I had little hope that a sista was going to make it out of this with a love story she could tell for ages.

But then there was breakout star Lauren Speed, who reminded me that the seemingly impossible was indeed possible.

The Detroit-bred, Atlanta transplant reeled me in from Episode 1 with her charming exchange with her soon-to-be real-life Prince Cameron Hamilton. By day two of the experiment, they were crying together and completely smitten over one another (while separated by walls mind you) and she became the first woman to get engaged.

Although I was rolling my eyes during the "I love you's" in the first episode, I was wiping my eyes by the finale. If I for one moment doubted Cameron loved Lauren before ever seeing what she looked like in Episode 1, all doubts were erased by Episode 9 as he never wavered, and tirelessly proved his love for her scene after scene.

It's not hard to see why there's so much hype around this couple, who has single-handedly driven the show to an international phenomenon. Here, we see Lauren, the epitome of #BlackGirlMagic, who is extremely independent, vocal about the plight of black people and the importance of a strong black family structure, fall for a man she wouldn't have otherwise dated under different circumstances. And he, too, was smitten throughout every single scene as she showed up as her full, authentic self (rocking a bonnet to bed on their first night together and all), and reassured everyone who would listen that he had landed the most beautiful woman in the world and he couldn't believe he was so lucky.

I hate to admit it, but this show made me believe in love again.

It made me wonder, what would life be like if you took away the distractions of social media, the followers, the titles, the accomplishments, the ability to Google and do your background searches, the doubtful opinions of family and friends, and able to date and fall for someone purely off of their character, soul and spirit with physical being an afterthought? Love in its purest form.

Last week, I caught up with Lauren and Cameron at the Love Is Blind finale party and they seemed even more in love than when they said their "I do's" in November 2018. I was curious to know how the marriage was working out for them after the honeymoon stage had worn off, and from the looks of things, they are proof that love is truly blind.

Here's what they told us:

xoNecole: You guys have received a tremendous reaction to the show as well as yourselves as a couple, what has been the most surprising reaction so far?

Cameron: Shonda Rhimes! It was awesome to see her tweeting about this show and saying that she was waiting on edge, just as we had been waiting on edge to see shows like Scandal.

Lauren: Yeah! It was awesome to see she was team Lameron. The love and support that we are receiving for our relationship is amazing.

How much did your family and friends know about the process when you were taping the show?

Lauren: Basically, our parents knew that we were going on a dating show that could possibly lead to an engagement or marriage. So, there were 10 days, or two weeks, where you couldn't talk to your friends or family. We were supposed to take those two weeks and focus on each other as a couple and the relationship. So, after we completed the show, it was like, "Hey mom and dad, I found somebody and I'm engaged." They were like, "What the hell? What do you mean you found somebody?" Then you had to explain to them that I met this person and I'm in love and it's kinda like…that's when things get a little…

Cameron: Yeah, they were skeptical on both Lauren and I's side. "We don't know about this, it sounds kind of sketchy..."

Lauren: Which is understandable.

Cameron: My parents advised me not to do it but I just had a feeling that it was the right thing for me to do.

Netflix

​While watching, I felt like the cast was given questions or prompts from the producers that helped move the relationship along. I think naturally when you first meet someone, you are afraid to go deeper on the first few dates, but you guys had to go deep pretty quickly. So, what do you think were some of the questions that really helped you to get to know him on a deeper level and vice versa?

Lauren: For me, when I asked him when was the last time that he cried. That's the type of stuff, like do you ask that on a date? No, not really. But that can tell a lot about a person. What makes you cry? What's important to you? What motivates you to get up in the morning? What are you scared of? What are your fears? Those types of things can tell a lot about a person, about their lifestyle, and their personality. So yeah, those are the type of questions I was asking. I went for the jugular with the deep stuff.

"What makes you cry? What's important to you? What motivates you to get up in the morning? What are you scared of? What are your fears? Those types of things can tell a lot about a person, about their lifestyle, and their personality. So yeah, those are the type of questions I was asking. I went for the jugular with the deep stuff."

Cameron: Yeah, we were asking questions like, What are things you have done that you are not proud of? What are your deepest fears? What really drives you? Where do you envision yourself being in five years?

Lauren: Yes, life plans.

Cameron: How do you want to raise kids? Do you believe in spanking?

Lauren: Yes!

Cameron: We are on the same page about that!

After getting married and living together, what did you guys learn about yourselves?

Lauren: A lot! Whew, you're about to make me get deep. Cameron's parents were married for 33 years and my parent's marriage ended in divorce. So for me, I haven't had an example of a successful marriage and what it means to be a successful wife to a husband. I had to learn how to be a wife and I had to learn to be a partner. I've been living independently for so long that I hadn't really evolved that part of myself. I had to learn to really grow and learn how to partner with someone.

"Cameron's parents were married for 33 years and my parent's marriage ended in divorce. So for me, I haven't had an example of a successful marriage and what it means to be a successful wife to a husband. I had to learn how to be a wife and I had to learn to be a partner. I've been living independently for so long that I hadn't really evolved that part of myself. I had to learn to really grow and learn how to partner with someone."

Cameron: Yeah, we had to learn how to be together as a team on a daily level. Even that kind of minute, boring stuff—or how to keep things exciting when you both are working from home all the time and you know, not get tired of seeing each other. Giving each other space when you need to, but also have romance, go out on dates and all of that kind of stuff too.

So, did you keep your apartment?

Lauren: NO…

You know we noticed that background from the house tour in your Instagram photos…

Lauren: We got married and I kept it for three months, so that was a little transitional period. So, I would go over there sometimes and come back, but after the three months, I was like, you know if we are going to do this, let's do this. I'm all in.

Netflix

I heard Michelle Obama talking about Barack and she said I hate the way he chews. So, what gets on your nerves that you guys do to each other? Can you share that?

Lauren: Ohhhh…

Cameron: I've got something too, but go ahead.

Lauren: Okay, I can't stand when Cameron leaves dishes around the sink. All you have to do is rinse it and put it in the dishwasher. It's nothing serious.

Cameron: I was going to say, you don't know how to load a dishwasher. There is no rhythm or reason to it, she just kind of throws it in there.

Lauren: At least it's in there…

Did it take the time you had in the apartment to figure this out or was this after you got married?

Lauren: He was like, "No, the cups go on the top and you have to rinse it before you put it in there." Probably after moving in, once you start to share space, then you are like, ohhh, he does this like this…

Cameron: Well, you know, I think the things that we work on, and have worked on, are things I would assume all married couples would work on. Despite the fact that the experiment was unorthodox, I mean we are a normal married couple in most respects. I'd like to think we have a healthy marriage and we're not perfect but we work through the things and I think that's the biggest part. We communicate, even though at times that we don't want to. We talk about it and we work through it.

"Despite the fact that the experiment was unorthodox, I mean we are a normal married couple in most respects. I'd like to think we have a healthy marriage and we're not perfect but we work through the things and I think that's the biggest part. We communicate, even though at times that we don't want to. We talk about it and we work through it."

For more Lauren and Cameron, follow them on Instagram! And check out the Love Is Blind reunion, currently available on Netflix.


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Featured image via Netflix

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
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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