The Family Stone | Mahogany

The Family Stone | Mahogany

The Family Stone
Husband and wife team of Black and Married with dismiss negative notions about marriage and family in Black America.

by Arlice Nichole

With an alarming divorce rate in the African American community, higher than that of Whites and Latinos, coupled with a rapidly increasing number of couples who want to call it quits but aren’t able to with the cost of divorce, and because they can’t afford to give up the financial security that the other provides, it’s no surprise that negative attitudes exist about an institution that is supposed to be so very beautiful. But even with these frightening realities regarding marital commitment, the fact is successful Black marriages and families do exist and thrive. And Lamar and Ronnie Tyler, the happily married duo behind the creation of the popular and nationally recognized blog Black and Married with proves it! The site has been spotlighted by, The Russ Par Morning Show, AOL Black Voices, The Mo’Nique Show and so many others. I’ve even had the chance to work with the pair in the recent past, and can personally testify to their passion, dedication and talent of bringing to the forefront topics and issues most relevant to Black families and the community as a whole. Lamar and Ronnie-a rock solid couple, are ready to take BMWK, their message and mission beyond the blog reaching an even wider audience.

Solid as a Rock

As a leading spot on the wire for those of us who are hitched with kids and loving it, BMWK first launched in early December of 2007, and quickly gained media attention, popularity, and an ever growing fan base. But the success of the site is no mistake or by chance. They had a clear and definite mission for this unique and underrepresented group that they and so many others, contrary to what many may believe, are apart of. “We didn’t have all the specifics of how we were going to do it and we didn’t know much about the blogospere, but what we had was a vision of what we wanted to do. We wanted to create a movement,” says Lamar Tyler. Whether it’s chronicling someone’s joyous journey to their big wedding day, discussing topics like “Oops” babies, or filling us in on relevant topics in the media, BMWK, a much needed source, is here to stay.

When we first started, we always said successful Black marriages and families do exist.” Lamar Tyler

Happy People

Frustrated with the general perception of marriage and family in the African American community, and as past victims of negativity from others at a time when they were happy and eager to make that jump into life on the other side of the broom is part of what BMWK was born out of. “When we got engaged we heard a lot of negative comments, ‘you’re getting married?!’ ‘Don’t do it!’ ‘It’s going to be hard,’” says Ronnie, once known on the site as “The Mom.” Comments of this sort can put a fear in man so strong that he’ll run and hide to keep from making the jump just like Mr. Big in the movie Sex in the City, who left Carrie in disbelief and near sick at the alter, and just recently with NBA player Richard Jefferson of the San Antonio Spurs who too left his bride-to-be at the alter without even notifying his family. But this is not that kind of story. “I love being married. We work at it, and we’re having fun. We’ve consciously decided that we’re going to have a happy marriage, and we’ll do whatever it takes to make it work.” says Ronnie. “We were disappointed with the way Black and married couples and parents are portrayed. When we first started, we always said successful Black marriages and families do exist, so we wanted to create a platform where married couples who love each other and love their children could come together and share a common bond.” says Lamar. Affectionately referring to their readers as “the fam” so many people have indeed come together via Black and Married with, and you can find many of them giving each other advice and offering up their own experiences for others to learn from, including Lamar and Ronnie, just like a family would.

We’re having fun! We love being married and have consciously decided that we’re going to have a happy one. We’re going to do whatever it takes to make it work.” Ronnie Tyler

Rock On! is not all that Ronnie and Lamar have going on. To build upon what they have already created, this past March, the couple launched their blog network to serve additional wants and needs of Black couples. One of the new sites, Cocoa keeps you current on the latest and greatest toys and products. “Cocoa was created along the same lines as BMWK. People want products and toys that project the same images as their children, so we created one” says Lamar. The other of the two new blogs, Celebrity Black was created because, let’s admit, we’re all a bit intrigued by the fabulous lives of the rich and famous. But what’s different about Celebrity Black is you won’t find any negativity there as with other popular blogs. “We wanted to highlight the positive aspect of Black celebrity marriages, none of the negativity.” says Ronnie. As with BMWK, the new blog network is all about love and celebration.

As if BMWK and the new blog network were not enough, coming this July on the 30th in Washington D.C. is the premiere of the documentary Happily Ever After: A Positive Look at Black Marriage. Ronnie and Lamar hit the highway to further show the world just how rock hard Black marriages can be. You’ll hear from the mouths of happily married couples and experts themselves like award–winning authors and journalists Denene Millner and Nick Chiles, another fabulous husband and wife team who have written books together on Black love such as In Love and War and What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know, and actor Tray Chaney from HBO’s The Wire and the film Head of State (Chris Rock, Bernie Mac) and his wife, as well as radio talk show host, Joe Madison and many others.

Wondering what’s next for Ronnie and Lamar? Thinking perhaps a social network, vlogging, or a family reunion Tom Joyner style? Maybe, but what’s currently being talked about is a book and a follow-up documentary to the first already. Whichever comes first, you can rest assured it will be well done, speak volumes, and speak for us who juggle kids, marriage, career, and everything in between successfully. As our conversation came to a close, there were no “good luck to you in all of your endeavors” speeches. We knew that we would speak again, even discussed collaborating on a future project. With our “I’ll talk to you real soon, ok?” tones, I really felt as though I was hanging up with my family. But this is not a new feeling.

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