Hello guys, welcome back to my blog. This is one of the story you will fall in love with just by looking at the pictures. The girl friend in this blog is actually a good friend of mine in fact i call her my sister. We been through some up and down together, she was once there for me and i believe i did the same for her at some point in her life. I was in New York when she actually told me about this guy “Hugh” her sweetheart. Well i was really happy for her but never got the chance to meet him since i used to do a lot of back and forth between Maryland and new york. Nadine was based in Maryland so that is where we get to meet most of the time, when am visiting home. Since i recently moved back to Maryland to stay , i still didn’t get the chance to meet my friend / sister sweetheart , because he end up moving to Minnesota. During this summer Nadine called me to let me know that, he was moving back here in Maryland and so i was really excited to finally meet him.
Well i didn’t really plan a date with them , i actually trick them into doing a photo-shoot section with me and from there to i want to blog them. They didn’t have any idea that, they will end up here on my blog at the beginning, until the shoot was done , and i handed them few question to answer. The reason why i actually wanted to blog them was because , as close as Nadine and i are , we talk a lot about the good and the crazy in our lives, she once shared a story with me, that touched me a lot and i just really wanted to find a way to share it with the world. The boy friend didn’t have any idea that i knew about that story , so he was the one that answered that question. To know that even during this 21st century racism is so surreal and people actually face it daily just got me thinking.
Does it really matter who you chose to fall in love with?? because through my experience , i believe is not really a choice to fall in love with someone. Well you meet someone, the connection is there and boom , you re in love. It doesn’t really have to be about race, tradition or culture. If God is an artist and we aim to see through his eyes not just skin color , but the heart and the soul we are falling for , then love is meant to be a winner. One of my professor once told us that, everyone is “Born to love”. when you are a baby , you really don’t know white from black , you can only make those differences according to those who raised you.
This is a beautiful love story i can’t keep for myself but rather share it with the world.
My name is Nadia Dogbe. I am a biology major and planning to become a pediatrician. I moved to the US from Togo about 4 years ago. It is difficult to be away from my family, but since Hugh has come into my life I try to be more positive than ever. His support, love and and the everyday thoughts of my family keeps me going.
My name is Hugh Kenety. I graduated from St. Olaf College about a year ago (located in Minnesota) with a double major in Political Science and Race & Ethnic Studies. I was born and raised in Silver Spring and just moved back from the Twin Cities after working in the non-profit sector.
Reeliadiary : How did you guys met?
Hugh: It was last year in August and I had just attended a #blacklivesmatter protest in DC due to the events surrounding Ferguson and Mike Brown. Afterwards a friend of mine told to me to slide thru for a party happening in Rosemary Hills. I was a bit tired but with enough nagging I decided to stop by. She was siting on a stool and after a quick couple of smiles and stares she started up a conversation with me. We hit it off well and chatted for the whole night. Later that night I offered to walk her home. Once I reached her apartment I asked if we could meet again. The rest is pretty much history we’ve been speaking everyday since.
Reeliadiary: What make him an interesting person?
Nadia: I have always been fascinated by guys who knows how to cook or at least try. Our first subject was about food and the kind of food he was good at cooking. He offered to cook for me and I really wanted to try his cooking. We have been talking everyday since. It is not everyday that you find a “white” guy who can handle a very spicy food lol. He has a big heart. I know this answer is kind of vague but he is the type of guy who brings you roses, who loves his friends, who wants to help people around him. His attitude of selfless sometimes makes me wonder because he always wants to make everyone around him happy even though that task is not an easy one. We complete each other on different levels.
Reeliadiary: Ok , Hugh while i was doing Nadine makeup , you mentioned something about the fact that she need to love herself the way she is, what do you mean by that?
Hugh: I think a lot “black” women in America have a hard time accepting the way they look, especially when it comes to the hair. A lot of black women have a complicated and conflicting relationship with hair. American standards of beauty generally isn’t inclusive of natural African hair or darker shades of skin color. I hear this coming out from her so often with worrying questions like “does it bother you that I’m going natural” or casual comments like “why am I so dark?”. I tell her that I love her the way she is and that it would be my own fault if I didn’t. She is her own beauty simply because she isn’t conforming white American standards of beauty.
Reeliadiary : Do you love yourself the way you are? And how does it make you feel to have someone loving you just the way you are?
Nadia: I love myself, but I have to admit as an African woman, I became pretty conflicted with my biological hair the first months during our relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I have hair. What I mean is that I was worried that Hugh wouldn’t be used to girls without a weave or even braids. Unfortunately, some women like me besides the physical appearance are not blessed by long silky or wavy or as someone would say nice hair. I want him to see the real me. Therefore, I stopped getting weave about 3 months ago and cut my hair too. I was so nervous because we have been in a long distance relationship for a year, so I didn’t want to scare him. I remember the look in his face when he saw me and I knew he would love me no matter how I look with or without hair. This fact is very priceless to me.
Having someone who loves you the way you are, is the best feeling ever. I know we are different in cultural ways, but at heart we are identical.
Reeliadiary : Did it bother you that she cut her hair and is growing it natural?
Hugh: Nope. She is looking gorgeous!
How do you guys cope with your cultural differences, for example food ? Clothes and the language differences ? Would you consider that a barrier to your relationship?
Nadia: Well, when it comes to the food I have to admit it , that it’s one thing that keeps us growing stronger. First of all, i love the fact that we both love spicy and hot food. He is very open minded, free spirit love to try new dishes and hopes to make fufu haha… he also has to master the art of eaten with hands haha
Reeliadiary: Did you guys ever encounter any racism issue while been together? Can you guys tell us a little story and how did u guys went about it?
Hugh: Yess , There was once a time when we were at a club in Minneapolis and a white bouncer had told us to stop dancing and leave without a given reason. We were clearly not out of control or uncoordinated so we were confused, he then called her “your black whore”. To me, it was one of the angriest I remember feeling in a long time. A fight broke out with another bouncer striking me first from behind and spraying pepper spray all over me and her (along with about 10 other people in the club). It was absolutely uncalled for and disgusting. We had done literally nothing wrong and yet they treated us like trash.
On the flip side there have been moments where I have been pleasantly surprised by the supportive gestures of strangers. We once rented a cabin in a rural part of West Virginia and I was worried we’d run into dirty looks and racial insults because I had heard horror stories about it. But it turned out quite the opposite. Everyone we ran into in West Virginia, from the gas stations to the supermarket was super nice and courteous. We had a middle age cashier telling us she thought we were a cute couple and later a couple of roughneck looking fellows giving us supportive smiles and offering to open the door for us.
Reeliadiary: Any advice to people going through the same thing?
Hugh: Don’t mind the haters but also remember to do some self reflections. This should be true for any relationship, but it’s especially needed in an interracial relationships because of a lot of reasons. This kind of relationship (interracial) is going to face a lot of social issues that are going to affect it from the outside. Additionally, I think questioning the reason you are with someone is important to keep the relationship healthy. Some couple fetishize their partner as a trophy and that can led to an unhealthy and problematic relationships. There’s also instances of cross cultural exchanges that have to be negotiated and discussed for greater understanding. Both parties have comes from a place of minimum value judgement to foster trust and work as a team. One of my favorite motto for cross cultural exchanges is “it’s not right or wrong, it’s just different.”
Reeliadiary: Thank you guys very much, i enjoyed working with you too , and wishes you guys an amazing journey full of love and happiness, it will be my absolute pleasure to see you guys make it through years and years!!
Nadine & Hugh: Thank you so much for the opportunity, we had a blast working with you. You are just amazing as person.
Reeliadiary: I really enjoyed doing this shoot with them. When we was on set , Nadine was telling me that , they not a professional models. Well i walk toward her and told her , i wasn’t looking for a professional model , i wanted them to just be themselves. God being themselves was crazy ok , i really just started missing my partner …. they were so adorable together , i can see love and happiness through both their eyes. It was just awesome working with them, i enjoyed every bit of the moment we had. Have i mentioned, that it was my first time meeting Hugh. He is really down to earth and actually funny so yeah , this is a keeper !
I toast to their LOVE!!
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