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Who's Allowed To Hold Hands? | With Alicia Keys

2019-11-27 | 🔗

"I’ve noticed that there is a strange hierarchy of handholding that dictates who gets to express physical affection without repercussions," Nicole Dennis-Benn writes in this week's Modern Love story. It's read by 15-time Grammy Award winning artist Alicia Keys, whose new single is called "Show Me Love."

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love. The pod cast is supported by produced by the island at W B. You are faster. oh the from the New York Times and W B. U R, Boston! This is modern, the stories of love loss and redemption. I'm your host magnetron puberty, the we don't always think about the privilege of human touch and of being able to hold another. persons, hand while we're walking down the street but Nicole. And it's been and her wife have thought a lot about that. She writes about their experience in her ass, a whose allowed to hold him
and it's red by Alicia Keys Alicia is a fish eighteen time, Grammy Award winning artist. Our new single is called show me, love which Alicia calls a meditation on the simple, powerful magic that comes from being lost in love my first date, I dared to give her a lingering hug on a crowded subway platform on West Fourth Street, unusual display a physical affection on my part, I blamed on the wine. It was the start of spring. the city in Bloom charmed by the hug. She agreed to see me again: we wanted the city strolling too, West Side in Harlem. Her shies smile, she told me Dreamed of living in Harlem and started the family. After finishing, in school.
I began to visit her at her studio in Washington Heights, where we would spend hours. She will make us dinner mostly pasta, spangles, add parmesan cheese, the only and she knew how to cook we spend evenings Watching CNN and debating politics not o Obama would win the election by the time she laced her fingers with mine and kissed me. As we sat Criss crossed on a carpeted floor, our mouths, Of garlic in tomato sauce, like we had known each other all our lives during one of our evening, strolls our hands brushed together in never cross. Mining until then hold hers in public. I felt something in my chest when I did she took my hand without question or pause as if she expected it, it felt so right, no one blinked an eye
then one sultry day that summer, I felt comfortable after lean in and kiss her and the park where we were sitting on a beach towel. avenue. Something inside of me was transforming, and L word slip from my lips and she smiled. I wasn't like this, I hadn't been around displays of affection, growing up. Step, father and mother were in love, but showed it only with the subtle smile across the room or. a vague uendo that passed as swiftly as a breeze rustling the mango trees. At seventeen I moved to the United States from Jamaica, where I have felt as if I were the only lesbian in a country in which police turn a blind eye to mob violence against gays and sex between men, punishable by law
I arrived in New York City and had the opportunity to date, women. I was still in over my shoulder at first I kept my romantic As with women casual, never to invest it though I was out about, my sexuality. I never felt the need to display affection in public. when I met my future wife, things changed Wanted to hold hands everywhere. We kiss goodbye, on the subway and put our arms around each other in the theatre. To keep warm. This might seem like nothing for a straight couple, but I've noticed that they Strange hierarchy of handholding, that dictates, who gets to express physics affection without repercussions for street couples is fine, of course, for I gay couples it's a little less fine, black lesbians. I guess it can feel like a, radical act.
Two years into our relationship. I convinced her to move. The brook where I had been renting Bedford, The same was more affordable than her Harlem fantasy. We ask I'm fit easily into the scene on Fulton Street, with it's mostly african, I and caribbean population a place where base of dancehall reggae merged with hip hop The old school lion the a place one can smell curried, goat and jerk chicken alongside fried chicken and catfish swear summer months mean black parties, people watching on Stoops and stroke. Through the neighborhood to another backyard, bbq esteem We urge urban utopia populated by well dressed transplants and born and bred in a do or die.
But I would soon learn that is one thing to be black and lesbian in this urban utopia and another thing to act on it. The man was no taller than five ft. Seven, Seemed to hover over us with shoulders spread like the wings of a falcon in his eyes with a fly. He swallowed his pupils hardened into something we couldn't break. No ass, the woman do that he said sneer he did wildly at us with our dreads our hands into twine me into some address in her and cut off shore, and a tank top he was not talking about our outfits, but the fact that we were holding hands. He fled is condemning words into the sudden soundless of beer, Fulton Street this happened to his many times since moving to Brooklyn, but this time stood out
because of his insistence on causing a scene, my wife glared at him, the cowards pick on women. She said. He came menacingly close and repeated his words, but before wise wife say anything more. I talk her arm and I said just keep walking my chest tightened I felt helpless reduced. To a position of surrender I thought would have been back home. gone from my mind, and that moment was the fact I was on american soil. I may have been able to flee the intolerance of my homeland, but it turns out that in moved to New York City too. Now there are times when my wife and I walk out of our building without reaching for each other's hand. Already To weary of the reactions we may get to weary of the gestures at a cost.
hence that may ruin a night or in and how your day. some jamaican men seem to take it as a personal affront to their manhood when they see us together after we as they spit words at our backs, like chewed up cane husks. Saddam knights, on the sides of my eyes. I can see them adjust themselves, getting ready to rise from their squatting positions and haul themselves onto soap boxes, ice cream nice hand chilled by a hostile stairs angry that I let them get to me We're married, I remind myself, holding on tighter my wedding band pressing uncomfortably into my flesh. By the time the man with the loud mouth hovered over us almost given up fighting. days before we had encountered another black lesbian couple. We knew that their part of the large. It's still mostly familiar population of black lesbians who seek asylum in bed Stuy because of the
affordability. When the cup saw that we were holding hands. They said you too. Brave we don't hold hands around these parts of town White lesbian couple go walk, holding hands or even tongue kiss in the middle of the street les as of color, particularly black lesbians. Have our time doing the same outraged when it became more apparent to me as an open and we can pass a straight? The ultimate trigger from you have a hard time accepting that women, like us, are out of reach we cannot openly love each other as black women without some men presuming ownership of our bodies shook me to the core something handed If I had not left a homophobic country, can you living in fear in America, but bright evening.
as the man lambasted us on a street corner. I relapsed in hold my life away, you don't know what he's capable of I snapped? So guys at my words and ashamed that I turn my fear into rage toward her, but I do not want to lose. The woman I love to someone who appeared to have nothing to lose our continent. teeth the steady, my words? I could hear my heart pounding between my ears. Meanwhile, the man stared us down, he shook his head baffled. Our public display of love appearing to cut him deeply, causing rip. would lines across his dark forehead. My girl, whisper with a hint of possession of familiar already? How can you ways that lifestyle he clutched his asked in pain, looking at me as I was the one who needed to be reasoned with, as though,
I had lost my mind in his foreign land with this foreign disease. You know better even my wife and I walked home without holding hands and I never felt so robbed. I became angry at the world. I myself am a wife, a ghost so angry. In fact that I can not be angry anymore, Firstly, when I realise that I could destroy our love with my Penta, Breach Morgan on a street or the mouths hand is perfectly norm. I told myself and I have become determined to fight for this love and our
freedom to express gays and lesbians before us far for this, and we were too, we would dare to find a home our place and fought in the street as we have found a home in each other. That's Alicia Keys. Reading, Nicole, Dennis Bends, essay who's allowed to hold hands will catch with Nicole and her wife Emma after the break
I love following my boyfriend and I often play falling be together. By together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in salary They may have happened again to I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words? Then I always get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something like that me and my dad. We like to play spy together, and I wish her out- I it J
See K, P, o t yeah. Now run nice I'm same is asking the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at annoying times dot com, Flash Games Nicole, then, Spends essay was published two years ago in two thousand seventeen we caught up with both the coal and her wife. Emma and Nicole, told us that her essay came from a place of great frustration. My wife and I would be walking down Fulton Street or establish Have you a places where we call home, but the one thing that me, the stand out was or low for each other and says like being forced to had a part of yourself to be accepted in the place where you call your car. unity, like you know, you're claiming that place, but it doesn't really claim all of you.
Nicole says that part of the reason she wanted to claim Brooklyn as her home was because I had seen so much homophobia growing up in Jamaica. I grew up knowing that, if I came out, I would be ostracized right. I grew up seeing people beaten and murdered and back home. This was in the nineties right. I mean, of course, things some been changing, but at the time growing up in Jamaica. That was what I experienced and when I left to make a ninety ninety nine. In addition to nothing upward mobility. As a jamaican working class woman. I left because I was coming out self as a lesbian, I looked come to America as that place. That would give me that freedom to love the way I want to love and so to know come here and to experience everything that I feared. I would have experienced back home that was also
very disappointing to me and so that in a fight any said, no, I'm not going to do this. I did not come to America to hide. I came to America to live, Emma says that reading Nicole's essay was a powerful experience. I know it definitely took me to a place where I could feel the pain like. I could feel the frustration and one thing and the ESA that she talked about was that how how it affects our relationship, how that rage that we have that frustration that sadness when someone tells us that we can't walk the streets freely in what we call our new home- how that then affects us and that rage that that sadness it has to go somewhere and that's where it can be quite problematic.
But they didn't want to stop holding hands. I don't want it to be like we're. Walking is treating. People are seeing us. Two sisters are two friends. no I've seen that happen multiple times with other list, lesbians of color visibility, matters, and so for us, Actually sure, love and show the world become too that we are established as a couple. A married couple means everything. Nicole and Emma say that in the past few years, there's been some progress and that they've experienced fewer Tori comments in their community than they did two years ago. Perhaps the judge appreciation perhaps a changing faces in our community, I'm not what's going on now, or maybe they are no use to us. So much so. they're like like. Are there there goes the lesbians again and. The sugar soft and some one in the more people are seeing us around the
The more they are realizing that we exist and we are here to stay, I think, at the end of the day, you know that which made your essay boo like so important is that it reflects the fact that We love each other so much and we love our cultures so much like I love being African, Eric and my wife loves being Jamaican. I mean the aegis can't take that away from us, and so we want to love each other as well as we can, and we want to be a part of our communities and we have hope we have hoped that there will be other lesbians of color who are going to walk the streets, and here less things than we heard. You know there's still who
text, Nicole, Dennis Benn and her wife. Emma Nicole is the author of It comes the sun and Patsy Emma is a professor of biostatistics. They live in Brooklyn more after the break. I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together. Together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. They may have happened again to I. Have one friend Who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words? Then I was get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something like that.
me and my dad. We like a sponge together, and I wish to out I it said a c K. P o t yeah now run nice I'm same as earth's. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N times, dot com, slash games. here's Daniel Jones, editor of the modern love column for the New York Times when you think about the words love and bravery. It's usually about being brave enough to be vulnerable with another person and Nick. all in in her essay, is a really a different kind of bravery. Its are you going to brave enough to show your love to the world if the world, or at least in this community, disapprove of that love.
and make you feel frightened, but what a sad commentary that the lays out this Cherokee of who is allowed to hold hands. Speaking of It is a sort of a hierarchy of bravery to the end degree that they are going to express their love in public I say this is who I love and we're to walk down the street together. Expressing my love, here's Alicia Keys, about this essay was, I love the honesty of it. I love the everydayness of it. Obviously, I'm in a from New York born and raised, so I noticed sts. I know what she's talking about not that I related to it very much just from one human being to another, sperience in life and experiencing these oppressions that become the subtle ways that we all have to self protect.
I think. Sometimes others don't even realize how that might be affecting the person that you know their judgment is directed towards has to be a really human story. and my song show me love one of the things that I've have always and thinking about and regards that song is how much I, who we are, we are just want one simple thing and is to be shown, love like we all just want to be able to be who we are without having to twist and contort to make somebody else feel comfortable I felt like this was a beautiful representation. Of that exact sentiment, thanks again to Alicia for reading this week's essay. Her new single, which you're hearing right now is show me, love thanks
universal Music publishing group for their permission to play some of Elisa latest music. Modern love is the production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced, dress. an edited by Caitlin O. scoring and sound design by Matt Reed additives are executive producer additional Hope this week from Catherine Brewer and Paul Vikas Daniel Jones is the editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show the idea for them, Turn off podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin, No thanks to Julia Simon on your australian and merely at the New York Times additional music. CFA P, a pm chocolate already by the way Other job is hosting an NPR show called on point check it out in your podcast feed I'll, see you next week.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.