These Five Words Made A Groom Cry During His Vows


If you've been keeping up with social media, you might be familiar with the now-viral video circulating of a couple embodying black love goals. The bride was a statesque goddess, her crown of afro hair surrounding her like the queen she was. And her groom who surrendered to the emotions of the moment as he cried tearfully in the middle of his vows. It was a beautiful sight for sore eyes and a beautiful reminder of the power of love.

The couple featured in the video were newlyweds Chris McFadden Jr., 32, and Nicole McFadden, 28. One conversation with the Philly couple and you understand how much of each other's yin is in tune with their yang, a rhythm. Like soul speak.

The couple's love story has humble beginnings. After meeting through a mutual friend while doing volunteer work at a local food desert, Nicole decided to shoot her shot with Chris over Instagram and a couple of strategically placed likes. They felt like home for one another from the jump. Found comfort in their similarities, and security in the fact that they knew they were each other's one.

"I think what I saw in her was what I wanted in a woman and I knew I didn't want to be without her. I saw the passion that she wanted in a relationship and out of me as a man, and I wasn't that person that she wanted as a man, but I saw that she just wanted to pull that out of me," Chris said. "I was looking at her like she wants me to be this person for her, and she really, really, really wants me and I really, really, really want her so I'm gonna be this guy. And it wasn't like a fake the funk vibe, but it was like…I want to grow to this place, so I could be a better man for myself and for her."

On November 11, 2017, the couple said, "I do" under the eyes of God and surrounded by friends and family. Like their love, a particular moment from the ceremony, lives on in the form of a viral video. The 15-second clip spread like wildfire on social media on gossip site pages and black love pages, and showed the blushing bride and her groom as he read his vows. While reading his promises to his wife-to-be, Chris could be seen falling to pieces, overcome with emotions.

It was the official start of their forever. And the gravity and the reality of that could be felt by Chris in that instant. "I was at the last sentence of my vows," he recalled. "It wasn't like I was emotional to the point where I was about to cry while reading my vows. I literally was thinking, 'Let me just get through these vows so I can kiss the bride and we'll be on our merry way. We'll go to the reception, we'll have a party.' But that last line hit me, and it hit my soul like whoa…we're about to get married. I'm spending my life with the woman I love."

Chris continued, "So after, I don't know if you can see in the video, I was kinda trying to be macho, but it was a subconscious thing like whoa, this feels kind of like a soul cleanse. That cry was like clearing up a lot of old me and I just turned into a new me and a new man I'm about to become after I say my vows and kiss the bride and all of that. That's all it was. Like legitimately, it felt like I was shot."

The line that brought him to tears was, "And forever isn't long enough." It struck a chord with him because those five words were a true embodiment of how they feel about their love.

"We said it in both our vows," he said. "I was about to say forever isn't long enough, but I broke down right before I said that."

Despite the attempt of the public to gain control of the narrative, the moment was an emotional time for Nicole as well. In their wedding, the couple had their bridal party walk in to the ceremony to the skits from Lauryn Hill's Miseducation where the students answered the question of, "What is love?" From there, they took a seat on lounge furniture couches. At the altar, on her side, she had her two brothers, and on his side, he had his two sisters. They were the only people standing at their wedding. For them, it symbolized the love they had all their lives from their siblings who always had their back.

"When he broke down, his sisters began to console him and honestly it just all came full circle for me," Nicole explained.

"To see his sisters have his back in that moment, I felt that it would have been selfish for me to interrupt, because I don't know if they feel like I'm taking their brother or they're gaining a sister."

"I saw a moment happening and I respect them too much to interrupt. I'm actually crying in the video. And I look away, because I began to cry more and I look to my brothers, who were behind me, and I look to my bridesmaids, I turn back around…and then like I'm holding my hands really tight and I wanted to touch him, but I know him and if I would've touched him when he was crying, I just felt like a lot of emotions…a lot more emotions would have come about. But the biggest, biggest piece was I saw his sisters consoling him and I didn't want to interrupt that moment. I have the rest of my life to console this man and to take care of this man and to cherish this man. And I know that that was a special moment for his sisters to stand next to him, specifically on that day. I would do the same thing again, despite what people think."

Nicole and Chris made it clear that despite some of the backlash and the unsolicited criticism of their marriage after a weekend reposted on a prominent Instagram account, that their foundation isn't shook. They've spent years cultivating and nurturing their love – people who mind don't matter. "We lost nothing from that day; we had an amazing honeymoon in China and in Thailand. We have amazing careers and we're happy. We just want to change the narrative. We found that a lot of people are reaching out to us just flat out stating like trolls ruined your wedding day, but it's like… no, that still happened. That was amazing, you know what I mean? The internet is not reality. Social media for us has been one of the biggest hurdles of our marriage and we jumped over it easily, in our opinion."

Walked around it, over it, and ultimately through it. A month and a little over a week since making it official, Chris and Nicole are very happy about what spending the rest of their lives looks like. With flourishing careers, a fulfilling home life, dedication to self-work, and traveling every other month – the two soulmates who are lucky in love are ready for wherever life takes them. No timeline necessary.

Congrats Chris and Nicole!

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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