Why Single Black Women Celebs Deserve More Than 'Why Aren't You Married' Questions
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Why Single Black Women Celebs Deserve More Than 'Why Aren't You Married' Questions

Tracee Ellis Ross said she doesn't want to be the 'poster child' for being single, so why keep asking her to be?

Her Voice

When you know your worth and value, you refuse to accept anything less than what you deserve. One thing about Tracee Ellis Ross (and so many Black women) is that she more than understands her value and has “no interest in being in a relationship just to be in a relationship.” She stated in a recent interview on Kevin Hart’s Hart to Heart show, “I’m a rare breed.”

Kevin did in fact give Tracee her flowers and celebrated her success throughout the interview, but at one point, the conversation started to feel as if a mystery was being explored through her vulnerability when the topic of relationships came up. The infamous question: why are you still single?

Although Kevin didn’t directly ask Tracee “why are you still single,” I wasn’t convinced that Kevin believed that Tracee could be successful, single, content, and not have something wrong with her. Sometimes, when you know who you are and stand in your truth, it’s hard for others to accept a reality that’s different from their own.

As Tracee started to share what a healthy relationship looks like for her, Kevin offered up a plethora of questions and assumptions:

“That’s why you’re not meeting them because you keep going to the jazz bar.” (jokingly)

“I think that you know what you want so much that it’s hard for a guy…you have no patience.” “How much patience do you have?”

“How fast is the off button?”

“How fast do you go there and say ‘I don’t like that’?”

Question after question, it seemed as if Kevin was determined to pinpoint the reason for Tracee’s singleness like a doctor trying to diagnose their patient. Never mind that she previously stated how she refused to settle and wasn’t looking for a relationship just for the heck of it. Never mind her success. Instead, the questioning suggested that something must be wrong with Tracee, which is often the assumption for so many successful Black women.

Unfortunately, a lot of these notions are driven by a history of patriarchy, misogyny, and antiquated views of women in society.

Kevin even went on to ask, “Are there triggers?” Talk about being triggered. Part of being triggered is when people try to tell you why you’re still single. News flash: men and women – whether single or married - have triggers, and triggers don’t just disappear especially when they’re rooted in childhood trauma and past experiences.

As if that wasn’t enough, the discussion of children also came up. At one point Kevin asked Tracee, “Are kids a thing?” Despite the nonchalant feeling behind the question, Tracee actually shared how she tried to have children on her own, as well as the “grief that came with it.”

Tracee stated, “I always thought a child would come out of ‘I love them so much.’ I did want kids but the window of desire has closed.” Nevertheless, she said she’s still open to the idea with the right person.

While I respect interviewers wanting to go deeper, some people don’t always understand how questions can open up wounds that people may not be prepared or want to discuss. Whether you’re a celebrity or not, you don’t always know what a woman has endured in order to get to where she is especially when it comes to having children.

It’s similar to the ridiculous statements I hear when people ask me, “Why don’t you have any children,” or “I guess you don’t want children.” There goes those assumptions again. People don’t think about the fact that some women have chosen not to have children, while some of us have been hit with the reality of infertility struggles, illnesses (actual diagnoses), and the fact that ultimately we are not in control.

Oftentimes, people assume women are single by force rather than choice, or that single women are overwhelmed with despair simply because of their single status. Despite the multitude of successes, the belief tends to be that there’s no way a woman can feel complete or truly be successful without being in a relationship.

However, success is not determined by your relationship status.

Singleness is not a synonym for sorrow.

Singleness is not a burden.

Singleness doesn’t mean 'unsuccessful.'

Whether it’s the self-proclaimed relationship guru on social media, the preacher in the pulpit, or a celebrity interviewer, Black women do not need the unsolicited, unprofessional, unsubstantiated so-called “diagnosis” and theories to try to explain their singleness. We’re not asking men the same questions. So, why are we repeatedly asking women?

While I’m a huge advocate that all of us – men and women – have to do the work to become better versions of ourselves, we shouldn’t support the narrative that something has to be wrong with you just because you’re single.

Despite all of the questioning, I loved how Tracee handled everything with humor and grace. As she so eloquently stated during the conversation: “We don’t have to be narrowed into what other people’s idea is of us [Black women]…I want people to feel good in their skin.”

My sisters, don’t allow anyone to make you feel like something’s wrong with you or that you’re “off track” just because your life looks different from theirs. People often project their plans and desires onto you based on what they want for themselves, but everyone’s journey is different. You don’t have to subscribe to other people’s timelines and societal pressures.

To the rest of the world, let Tracee Ellis Ross, and whoever else, live their lives, enjoy their success, and enjoy what they do have instead of constantly making them feel as if their success is less significant without a relationship.

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Featured image by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for PATTERN Beauty by Tracee Ellis Ross

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