When I heard the news that rapper Wale got a new job as a sex/dating/relationship expert for the women’s website, Honeymag.com, I shook my head and sucked my teeth. Here we go again, I thought. Another celebrity relationship expert women will flock to for some sort of clear understanding about the male mind, of which they will never receive.
I will not knock the hustle of celebrities like Wale, comedian Steve Harvey, or actor Hill Harper, the three men I refer to as, The Black Relationship Expert Trinity. I know they mean well. I know publications like Essence (who give Steve Harvey a monthly relationship column) and Honeymag.com are in the business of finding creative ways to entertain and educate their readers, and celebrities help that bottom line (It should also be said, for full disclosure: I have friends at both publications and this is not a rant on them).
What I have an issue with are the readers, specifically the females, who actually seek the counsel of The Black Relationship Expert Trinity. Don’t get me wrong, I think relationship advice and counsel are very necessary, especially amongst black men and women, who judging by these numbers, are clearly in dire need of a good talk to.
But must we run to celebrities to get the skinny on how to get a mate or keep a mate? Can’t we get someone, like I don’t know, a real PhD, to be the face of black relationship counseling? Look at people like Dr. Phil or Dr. Drew. Sure they’re famous faces, but at least it’s by virtue of the hard work they performed in their field. They’re not celebrities moonlighting as relationship experts. They’re doctors, real ones, and they’re here to help men and women figure this whole relationship, dating, and sex thing out.
Need a better example? Quick, name the authors of the relationship tomes, Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and/or He’s Just Not That Into You. Name them without Googling them. Having a hard time? That’s because they’re not famous people. Rather they were relationship professionals, who wrote famous literature on the issue at hand.
Meanwhile, over here, we’re listening to rappers, comedians, and actors give us advice on how to have a successful relationship, all based on this idea that in spite of their celebrity status, they’re just like us.
No they’re not.
They’re hustlers. Good ones. Savvy even. In the case of Hill Harper, there aren’t too many Harvard Law Alumni who also appear in Spike Lee films.
I have heard there are great points contained in both the gospel of Harper and Harvey. And certainly Wale’s first stab at talking about sex and relationships was a success. Why else would the beautiful, intelligent ladies of Honey give him his own platform? So let me not knock the hustle or the hustlers.
Instead, I turn it over to you all, the hustled. If any of you really need some help when it comes to finding a relationship or keeping a relationship together, by all means, seek some counsel. But instead of flocking to some celebrity for some professional help, go get some professional help from a real professional.