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Here's What You Missed On The ‘Put A Ring On It’ Series Premiere

If he likes it, why won't he put a ring on it?

Culture & Entertainment

What do you get when you mix three long-term, in-love couples with a batch of eligible suitors looking to snag a compatible mate? A whole hour-long, front-row seat to some spicy commentary and telling reveals. And if that's something that sounds right up your alley, then look no further than the new Will Packer series Put A Ring On It. This show centers around these couples as they embark on the ultimate journey to discover if they're truly meant to be together--by dating other people.

So if you ever wondered whether or not the grass was truly greener on the other side in your relationship, allow this show to be the social experiment you need to answer all your questions. Friday night's series premiere was a DOOZY to say the least, so let's get all the way into it. Starting with…

The 'Put A Ring On It' Couples

Meet Ashley & Hollywood

Ashley and Hollywood, 'Put A Ring On It'

Courtesy of OWN

Let's start with these two lovebirds, Ashley and Hollywood. They're arguably my favorite couple but I may be biased because I'm in love with any and all Southern accents (they're both from New Orleans). They've been together for nine years and according to Hollywood, should have already been married by now. But as it's revealed in the initial sit down with resident relationship coach Dr. Nicole LaBeach, Ashley isn't quite sure if she's ready to head down that road just yet.

"I'm not afraid of marriage at all, I'm afraid of marriage with the wrong person. I'm scared to allow myself to be completely vulnerable with him, I'm scared to allow myself to get to that next level."

Now what you have left to be scared of after a nine-year-long relationship is beyond me, but as the conversation continues--we learn a very interesting fact. Hollywood had previously proposed to Ashley some years back but his cold feet and fear caused him to go back and forth on their engagement. Thus giving Ashley more than enough ammo to be doubtful of his ability to fully commit now. Hmph. Y'know, Maya Angelou always said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

Meet Che' & Michael

Che' & Michael, 'Put A Ring On It'

Courtesy of OWN

OK, so this beautiful brown couple threw me for a loop and I'll tell you why. They've known each other for about six years, but have only been dating for two. Che' says they're soulmates and Michael truly believes that she is his best friend. So where's the disconnect, sis? Well, I'm glad you ask. At the heart of it, the two of them don't really agree on what a marriage truly is or is about. She feels that it's a natural evolution for two people in love, while he feels it's "two people who sign a contract to be together by force." And he may have a good reason for feeling that way.

You see, somewhere in between Che' and his relationship, Che' came to the conclusion that she actually still had feelings for her ex and broke things off. And so Michael did what any other single person would after being dumped-- dated other people. But not only did he date another woman, he moved to DC with said woman AND asked for her hand in marriage. And as luck (or karma if you wanna argue) would have it, the engagement only exacerbated issues between the two. So after coming to his senses, he moved back to ATL and back into Che's life emotionally scarred from a failed engagement. Thus making Michael hesitant to bring matrimonial havoc into his happy home.

"I don't think marriage is necessary because we wake up and choose to be with each other right now. We're in such a good place, I don't wanna ruin things."

I guess, chile.

Mi-Mi & Eyuless

Mi-Mi & Eyuless, 'Put A Ring On It'

Courtesy of OWN

This brings us to our final lovey dovey couple and we honestly meet them at a crossroads. These two met on a video shoot and let Eyuless tell it--it was love at first sight. (Even though Mimi admits to making a move on him first on their first date during their confessional.) They seem to mesh very well and balance each other out, according to Mi-Mi. But in the sit down with Dr. Nicole, we learned that everything isn't exactly what it seems to be on the surface. See the thing is, Eyuless WANTS to marry Mi-Mi, but previous relationship discretions, aka cheating, are keeping doubts at the front of Mi-Mi's mind.

It's not that she doesn't love him--she absolutely does. She just doesn't know if she wants to stay in this relationship or move forward. Plus, there are other hindrances that play a major role too like poor communication, insecurity, and lack of accountability. At the heart of it all, Mi-Mi just wants to be sure that it's going to last because she DOES NOT want a divorce, as we learn in her confessional. This marriage has to be the one. And if Eyuless isn't prepared to address and change some things, she's not so sure if this is a path she needs to continue down. This can arguably be true for all the couples in the group.

But Dr. Nicole has just what they need to help make sense of everything, which brings me to…

The Dates

Now listen, I'm not sure if these couples were fully aware that this was part of the deal but when Dr. Nicole lets it be known that the couples would be dating other people as a means to ascertain their true feelings towards one another-- it was met with mixed emotions. And while most of the men expressed their slight disdain and confusion, back at home the real feelings began to show. Michael was a bit nonchalant towards Che', which caused her to feel as if Michael has become a bit too comfortable in their relationship. Meanwhile, Hollywood's initial playfully cautionary reaction turns a bit more serious and testy when Ashley's date arrives at their apartment. This leads Ashley to believe that Hollywood is somewhat intimidated, not by her new date per se, but what it represents: a potentially better future WITHOUT him.

And at Eyuless' crib, he and Mi-Mi get in a heated conversation resulting in him storming off at the thought of Mi-Mi having to experience another man for her to realize he's the only one that can "do for her the way he can." At any rate, Ashley and Che' go on their respective dates with men who bring a new energy into both of their lives. But Mi-Mi, having gotten an unexpected phone call concerning her father's illness, doesn't go and turns to Eyuless for comfort and assurance. This was honestly heartbreaking and touching to see them go through but I guess things can't always be "blue skies and rainbows." (It'll hit you on the ride home later.)

The Aftermath

When all three couples return for another sit down with Dr. Nicole, both Ashley and Che' admit to having a good time and being "refreshed" after coming in contact with two good men who have exceptional qualities that directly contrast that of their own lovers. But it's not until Mimi admits what went down in her household that they all learn a valuable lesson: marriage in and of itself won't change a damn thing.

"Marriage doesn't have any power, you do. You define it, you make the rules, you make the boundaries."

In essence, all a marriage license will do is amplify whatever work, happiness, and issues a couple is already experiencing. And if these couples don't get it together right now, then a ring and walk down the aisle won't solve anything or assuage their feelings. Truer words have never been said and that's word to Dr. Nicole. Next week, it's the men's turn to go on their dates and I'm already knowing this is about to be some mess. (That dap Hollywood and Michael gave each other, uh-uh.) I honestly hope these couples can find their way to a happy resolve, whatever that may be but regardless--I can already tell this season is about to get reaaaaaaaal interesting.

Put A Ring On It airs every Friday night at 10pm ET only on the OWN Network. Keep up with the conversation online by following @owntv.

Featured image courtesy of OWN

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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