This Couple's 8-Year Love Story Got Its Start On Tumblr

Our First Year

In xoNecole's Our First Year series, we take a more in-depth look at love and relationships between real-life couples, married and unmarried with an emphasis on what their first year in love was like. These couples allow us to journey through their love stories with them – the ups, the downs, the triumphs, and the tribulations of what it takes to make their love work.

One look at Rog and Bee Walker will have you thinking the couple were absolutely made for each other.

When you speak with them, you understand the full breadth in the validity of that belief. He is the yin to her yang, she is the rhyme to his reason. And equipped with her bushy crown of hair, his signature fedora, and their mutually impeccable sense of style – the two New York-based creatives are truly one another's match.

Rog and Bee are lovers first and collaborators second, having met in work-related circumstances nearly eight years ago when Tumblr led Bee to an event Rog would be at. She had admired his work from afar.

They started dating soon after and were married shortly after that. Rog even popped the question to Bee on bended knee through a Tumblr ask. And now the Walkers, in addition to a fruitful marriage are putting their love into their work with the collaborative effort Paper Monday. "Since the beginning, we've always to make the work a part of what we're doing," Rog said in regard to the ongoing visual project. "It's the evolution of like our desire to tell stories and to make a space for those stories to live. It's also a space for us to continue to collaborate and continue to tell those stories and to work together and to put our heart, passion, and work into something. It's storytelling and collaborating and working together."

The couple delved deeper into the journey of their love story, how they met, how work comes into play, and ultimately what makes their love revolutionary.

The One

Bee Walker: We spent so much time together in the beginning because we wanted to, and we liked each other, and we just were enjoying each other and enjoying getting to know each other. It was so easy to spend time together. It was just easy to talk. It was easy… easy to be myself. And I felt that he was really being himself. We were just having a lot of fun together, but we were also talking and baring our souls to each other and getting to know how the other person is. At some point, I could just feel it.

Rog Walker: I was going through a period in life where I was just transitioning in culture, transitioning from my parents' culture. And I was going out meeting different types of people – people I've never met before like the most stylish black men – and all these different types of things. So, I think Bee was something – the balance [was] right – like in her personality. Like, I felt like she understood me and understood that that makes a culture because she was also from a somewhat conservative liberal immigrant family, but she's also interested in creative things.

I think we overlook the importance of those cultural connections and that understanding.

With Bee, we were able to connect on both those things and understand like the foundational elements of who we are, but also had like the progressive thought process of how we see the world and how we envision our future and how things are done. For me, when we understand that meeting someone like you that had the mix of culture who can relate, and we could see eye to eye, that's rare. So, I knew this was something that was important and special.

Travis Gumbs

The Best Part

Bee: What I love most about Rog is he has such a consistent and enduring positive personality. Like, he's just on that side of the fence. He's not even aware of the fence. You know there's another way to be and I think that's so wonderful. Like he literally wakes up happy, ready to go dancing, song on his heart. He's like, let's go! Let's do this life thing, which is really good for me. It's just good to be around.

Rog: And I think Bee kind of opened me up to a whole 'nother world. I was born in Jamaica, my parents are very Jamaican as well, so there's like this stern, hard way of loving. And I think Bee is just so soft, so sweet, so compassionate. And she's very, very intelligent. I remember I was kind of intimidated by what she can bring to the table, just from an intelligence standpoint. And she's sweet. I feel like what's underrated is how supportive she is, and I don't think that's a lesser trait because I think I'm better because of her, something I don't take for granted.

Revolutionary Love

Rog: I think a lot of times, people desire love as a concept or as something that's defined by culture or whatever, but when it comes to our love, or like, our relationship, I really see it as revolutionary that it has impact beyond that general concept of Netflix and chill or whatever the case may be. But we do things [where we ask], can we impact life together as a unit and within our partnership? And that's something that I always wanted. We're really taking on our purpose in life and the things that we want to do together. And strengthening one another and strengthening the impact of our individual ties. So, our love being revolutionary is really more so about us being a true partnership that impact the world and like really takes on and tackles our purpose in the world together.

Bee: Marriage in the world is a convention and it's something that people read into and they kind of have a tendency to emulate things that they've seen done in other relationships they've been around relationships in media for example. What I've noticed and what's revolutionary and will feed into that goal is that a partnership between two people is something that [has] never existed before so that's the revolutionary part of our relationship.

I realize it's not a place to imitate things I've seen, but a place where new things grow out of.

No two people just like us have been together before, so the things that come out of our union are new and so, in that sense, the goal for me once I realized that is hand in hand with what Rog said. You know, cultivate a place where we can give out of what's coming from us.

Mentors In Marriage

Bee: Before we got married, we sat down with all of the people that we love and trust to talk about marriage. We did like, sort of an informal marriage counseling with his parents, with my parents, with a couple of other couples that we knew at that time who were really solid and had great families and everything. That was probably one of the best things that we did early on, because we spoke to a good set of people who were like our parents and also people like us, who we aspired to live our lives like. After the fact, I think we both learned that it was wise to talk to each other.

It's prayer. It's talking to God. It's reading.

Those are the things that have really helped us when we need advice and we need guidance.

Lessons In Love

Rog: The most important lesson I've learned is that there's more than one way to be right. I was raised very specific like, this is right, this is how you do it, you do it at this pace, you do it like this. And it's easy to go into the world and judge other people's processes, but it's respecting the intelligence or ability to solve a problem in her own way makes you realize that there's more than one way to be right and to respect the process about other people's processes as well. Allowing other people to have their space and allow my convictions to be my own.

Bee: The most important thing I've learned is that there are so many different ways to have a good life. I've learned that there are so many ways to have a fulfilling and joy and love-filled life. And it can look a lot of different ways and maybe don't have one of those things and your life is still beautiful and full of love and that's the most important thing. That's changed my worldview entirely.

One & The Same

Rog: I'm really big on working with intention, but without expectation. I think together – I know for me and for Bee – it is really an operational purpose. The goal for us is theoretical in a sense. I know we want to be excellent and I know we want to impact people, we want to give love to our craft. Our goal isn't to get anything per se but to be someone or to be the type of person, the type of creative that showcases love and humanity. We really want to tell stories and impact life and culture in an authentic way.

Bee: For me and for us, the goal, like Rog said, is to give to give. Out of that, and to give out of our abundance and get out of our love. Just cultivating those places where we can do that and [have] the ability to do that.

For more Rog and Bee, follow them on Instagram, and be sure to check out their beautiful project Paper Monday.

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A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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