Do mediocre relationships block blessings for Black women?

TheGrio’s Eboni K. Williams talks to TV correspondent and producer Dana Blair about the complexity of the topic surrounding Black women and marriage.

In a recent Essence magazine article, Omi Bell, an angel investor, believes mediocre relationships are blocking Black women from wealth. We know that statistically, Black women are among the most educated groups in the United States, but statistics also show that 47.5% of Black women are unmarried. 

Do the two somehow go hand in hand? TheGrio’s Eboni K. Williams talks to TV correspondent and producer Dana Blair about the complexity of this hot topic. 

The following is a transcript of the conversation.

Do mediocre relationships block blessings for Black women? (image taken from

Williams [00:00:04] Are mediocre relationships keeping some Black women from becoming wealthy? Well, a recent Essence magazine article touched on this very topic. And you might remember that I shared a pretty similar sentiment in my conversation with Iyanla Vanzant not too long ago.

Vanzant [00:00:21] Would you date a bus driver? You, would you?

Williams [00:00:25] If he owns the bus…if he owns it. If he owns the bus.

Vanzant [00:00:30] That’s a problem. That’s a problem.

Williams [00:00:34] I want to bring in TV correspondent, producer, and much more, Dana Blair, to help us talk about this and other relationship headlines. Dana, my dear. Thanks for joining us.

Now, in the Essence article, the woman shared how she was…This woman talks about how she was engaged and that she felt a calling to start a business of her own, but that her fiancée did not think it was financially the right time for their family. She goes on to say that they did eventually break up and then she went into high gear. She started that business, started several businesses, in fact, and they took off.

So, what do you think, Dana? You have always been very transparent on social media. And we’ve frankly talked about this amongst ourselves as women. Do you think that there is something to mediocre relationships blocking wealth and blessings for Black women? Because sometimes people say he’s got potential or, well, today he drives the bus, tomorrow he owns stock, whatever. Just what’s your thought?

Blair [00:01:30] I would like to rephrase that and reframe that to not a mediocre relationship as much as it is finding someone in your life personally or professionally. Because the article also discusses networking that aligns with your values and your goals. I’ve dated men before who would have never supported me quitting my marketing job and pursuing being a freelance TV correspondent.

For various reasons and reasons that made sense. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But our short-term and long-term goals and the life and lifestyle that we want to build and build together that has to align. So, I don’t necessarily believe that that means my partner is mediocre or vice versa. It just means you know what? We may have outgrown each other in this current space and our long-term goals may not align. And that’s something… That’s a deeper conversation.

Williams [00:02:17] Yeah, let’s have it right because I do think oftentimes this topic is left kind of very surface. And I appreciate that reframing. Dana, you’re right. The relationship itself in terms of the connection and, you know, the emotional strength of the couple might indeed be very strong. But when you start talking about the misalignment around the economics and the fiscal, you know, that’s where things can get dicey.

So, let’s go back. Right? Historically, marriage and I do want to kind of frame it there and that type of cohabitating partnership between men and women was, and that’s important in our current society, we’re talking about men and women generally here. It was rooted in this notion of economic stability. I mean, that was you know, that’s where dowries come from. That’s where kind of these cultural mandates that says that mandated a man show his ability to provide financially for a woman and their subsequent children.

Now, we’re a long ways from that, Dana…and I guess how do you see Black culture specifically reckoning with the transitions and kind of reconciling that?

Blair [00:03:23] Well, and forgive me if I get the year wrong, but I couldn’t legally have a credit card until, what, 1974, 1975? So, think about that. My mother was born and could not have a credit card, which means she could not have certain levels of financial independence. I am a Black woman. I was born and raised in a small town in Louisiana.

So, I’m also very well informed and connected to the Civil Rights Movement and to Black Codes and to those unspoken laws of the South and those unspoken experiences that my father, who picked cotton, as well as my mother, experienced. So, I think there are so many layers and nuances to this conversation that we can’t even begin to cover within this segment, that happened not too long ago. Right. And I feel that it’s again, it’s just so nuanced.

Becoming independent and thriving. Yes. It was built upon many relationships were built upon the man being able to take care of the woman and all that sort of thing. But as with all things, things must evolve. And there’s financial conversations. Every relationship is different. You need to have that within your own personal relationship. But there’s also mental health and emotional health and the different types of taking care of and a mutual respect and supporting each other’s dreams.

And again, I think that goes back to character alignment, value alignment, goal alignment. When you’re looking for a partner and just having a more robust conversation, and now as we have more transparent conversations about mental and emotional, you need to integrate that into the conversation for me. And again, every relationship is different. It’s not just about finances. It’s not just about those things.

Well-roundedness and when you have the well-rounded conversation, that’s when you could really have a conversation about whether or not you can grow together long term.

Williams [00:05:21] I love that, Dana. And as you say, every relationship is so different, and they are so unique. And I know, you know, I’ve been very vocal about this topic, but for me, I think people still are missing that we are similar. I was born in Amite, Tangipahoa Parish. My mother did not go to school with white people until 1977. She was a high school senior.

So, I also tether a little financial liberation with safety as being a safe Black woman in America. Let me just make it plain. That’s very important to me. And it’s important to my mother, who was a bus driver turned entrepreneur. So, I think that when people think of Black women even speaking to the finances or the alignment or all of this, I think they hear gold-digger, or they hear something that’s materialistic in nature.

Well, I really would challenge them to hear something that’s rooted in protection of one another and ourselves. Half the time, Grandma might not even like your granddaddy that much, but she needed a mortgage. Luckily, we live in a different day today, and so we are able to progress in a different way.

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