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Congratulations to Niecy Nash and wife Jessica Betts, who have made history as the first same-sex couple to cover Essence magazine.

This is huge, especially since homosexualiy is frowned upon in the black community, particularly in the black church, and isn’t celebrated enough in black media.

I’ve even made comparisons to their relationship, and that of the storyline between Che and Miranda on …And Just Like That, because there seems to be people out there who have a hard time believing that people should explore their sexual identity, and that people do come out late in life.

Sometimes it’s also about the emotional connection between genders, and after two ex husbands, I’m glad Niecy finally found love with Betts, who’s she’s been married to since 2020.

Here’s what Essence CEO Caroline Wanga had to say about the cover story:

“At ESSENCE, we believe that the Black woman is the CEO of her home and community and is not a monolith. We represent a spectrum of identities, experiences, and representations that collectively define all that we are. We are proud to continue to spotlight and strengthen who we are, in as many ways as we can, in a way that equitably celebrates our global community, and we are proud to continue doing it. ESSENCE looks forward to continuing to serve as the voice that represents all facets of its powerful community today and in the years to come.”

NIECY ON WHAT SHE LOVES MOST ABOUT JESSICA: “The least of my attraction is gender…What I was and am still attracted to is Jessica’s soul. She was the most beautiful soul I had ever met in my life. Now that I’ve experienced it, I can’t imagine going through life without it…”

JESSICA ON FINALLY FEELING SEEN AND ACCEPTED: “…I absolutely feel fully seen. I feel like all of me is accepted. All of me is loved—and not just the part that I present, but the part that I don’t necessarily show to everyone else…”

NIECY ON FACING HER FEARS OF BEING IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE OF THE SAME GENDER: “…Not only was it challenging for me to realize I’m having feelings for a woman that I’ve normally had for a man…but it was compounded by the fact that this is my friend. I thought, What I do not want to do is anything that would allow this person to not be in my life for the rest of my life. So I backed up. I was very afraid…”

NIECY AND JESSICA ON THE INITIAL RESPONSE TO THEIR COUPLING: “A lot of people thought it was like a movie or some promo,” Niecy recalls, still in disbelief at the reaction. “They started calling everybody, and we were like, ‘This is insane.’ I never knew why where you lay your head is such a big deal to other people. I was like, ‘People care?’” “She was really shocked,” Jessica adds. “I knew there was going to be some banter around it. But I didn’t know that it was literally going to”—Niecy chimes in with her wife, and they complete the sentence together, something they do a lot— “break the Internet!”

The March/April issue featuring Niecy and Jessica hits newsstands on March 1. Check out more photos below…

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