I was all of 23 and looked like I wasn’t even yet of legal drinking age and I was a black woman, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that when I’d show up to mayoral press conferences with my reporter’s notepad and my mini tape recorder and my questions, my fellow journalists—mostly male, mostly white, mostly a decade or two older—would make quick work of rendering me irrelevant. In their eyes, it seemed, I was a lightweight—an affirmative action baby taking up valuable real estate in both the New York City political press corps and in the pages of the Daily News, then the sixth-largest newspaper in the country. Clearly, I was not worthy of working such a prestigious beat. Or at least that’s the way they treated me—certainly the way it was taken.
It never seemed to occur to them that I was young and fresh and hardworking and good at my job. That I’d earned my keep. And while on most days I just shrugged it off and threw it down with my reporting and writing skills, there were those days when the ignorance and the sexism and the racism and the ridiculousness of it all would get the best of me.
Enter Nick—then a competitor and friend. I’ll never forget how he saved me and my sanity on one particular day when I let some side comments and blatant disrespect from a colleague bring me to tears. “You,” he said simply in a clandestine phone call to my desk where I sat, slumped and defeated, “are better than him. He’s lazy and dumb and you? You can write circles around him. Don’t let his jealousy and bitterness steal your joy. I believe in you.”
I believe in you.
I can’t tell you what those four words meant to me—how they lifted both of my shoulders and steeled my back and dried up the water in my eyes and raised the corners of my lips. It’s not that I needed validation—particularly from a man. But it was a much-needed reminder that I really was a helluva writer and reporter and deserved to be where I was at that stage in my career, and it felt good to walk into the den of lions confident that someone had my back. And when I made up my mind I was untouchable when it came to my writing skills? It was over for them.
I owe that to my man.
He saved me.
It is this that I think about as I help Essence bloggers Lamar and Ronnie Tyler, the creators of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com, celebrate the release of their latest film, You Saved Me, the follow up to their best-selling debut, Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage. You Saved Me features candid looks at the hardships, trials, and ultimate success stories of real couples, who give an unprecedented look not only at black marriages, but what it takes to make them work.
You Saved Me is on DVD beginning March 29, but you know your girl has the hook-up, right? Lamar and Ronnie gave MyBrownBaby two DVD’s to give away to two lucky MyBrownBaby readers. All you have to do is leave a comment saying what you love about your significant other (whether he/she is a spouse or simply someone extra special). Want to earn extra chances to win? Tweet: “@MyBrownBaby is celebrating love with a You Saved Me giveaway! http://shar.es/mg9Dt” up to three times for a total of four chances to win.
The contest ends Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. Winners will be announced Friday, April 2, 2010.
Don’t want to wait around for your copy? Well, you can purchase the DVD at a discount up until the official release date, March 29, 2010, by clicking HERE.
And if you can’t bear to wait for the DVD, you can check out movie premiers in more than 25 cities this weekend. Click HERE for movie listings.