"Of course it was Damien's idea to get married, but it was me that took him to Tiffany. He picked a ring, and I got on one knee and asked him to marry me." –Seanmichael
When it comes to black love, the traditional union of a man and a woman is the model to be revered. Yet, there is a segment of the black population whose love is rarely acknowledged within the broader community, but it exists nonetheless.
Seanmichael Rodgers and Damien Ramsey, a couple residing in New York City and engaged to be married this spring, is an example of the love that challenges "traditional" models.
Seanmichael and Damien have been in a committed relationship for three years. Their commitment will ultimately lead them down the aisle in March. Over the past three years, there have been several Valentine's Day memories with each one competing to top the last.
While Seanmichael's plan to celebrate the holiday with his future husband remains a secret, he did reveal that it includes "100 candles, 10 wishes, 10 promises, 10 memories and 10 reasons."
The couple make it a priority to celebrate their love throughout the year and not just on Valentine's Day. Their weekly date night on Tuesdays gives each an opportunity to escape the stress of work and focus on nurturing their relationship.
Seanmichael is a producer and vocal coach, and Damien is a singer-songwriter known as Dy'Ari (pronounced diary).
"It's like falling in love again every week," says Damien, "sometimes for the same reasons and sometimes for new ones. We take these days seriously, because it allows us the time to stay fresh and revisit one another and the reasons why we love each other the way that we do."
Those reasons were made perfectly clear during Seanmichael's traditional "down-on-one-knee" proposal, along with an ageless silver ring with diamonds inscribed with roman numerals from Tiffany.
"I am in love with you for many reasons. For the rhythms that only our two hearts can beat, for the strengths you show in my weaknesses, for the passion that burns every time you kiss me, and for the joy you give me every day. I want to give you the depth and the shallow of me with all transparency. I want to love you through this eternity into the next."
It's been said that black men loving each other is a revolutionary act, given the pervasive homophobia that exists in American culture and the black community . The fear of losing the support of family and friends, a vital element to the success of black unions can become a major hindrance for a black same-gender loving couple. But even with support of family and friends, there's still no guarantee of a successful relationship when both partners are of the same sex.
Despite these obstacles Seanmichael and Damien's love triumphs because love always outweighs fear and equality will always defeat injustice.
"Will you marry me"? asked Seanmichael.
"Yes"! "A million times," replied Damien.