Forbidden Love: A Discussion About the Nature of Love in Society by Harlem Girls Club

Above: Aisatou Bah shares her thoughts on the politics of love.

By: Ruby Veridiano

Like many teenage girls, my girls in Harlem are always eager to talk about love. And why shouldn’t they? Love is both exciting and exhilarating, a new frontier to explore. After all, aren’t we all going to remain forever young on the inside, like giddy girls with budding hearts eager to welcome that magnificent thing called Love in? Especially around these girls, I know I most certainly do.

A few weeks ago, the girls and I spent time talking about love. More than just a feeling, we also recognized that in a world of injustice and inequality, love is also it’s own politic. To spark discussion, I brought in a song from one of my favorite artists, Janelle Monae. We listened to her song “Metropolis”, a song about a cyborg robot who faces the threat of being violently disassembled because she fell in love with a human.

Her lyrics read, “How can a wired thing understand/Love is too deep; too wide to feel/when your soul is a button/and your foot glows in heels”

Above: Tiffany Collins writes an ending to Janelle Monae's song

After listening to her song, I asked the girls if this concept of “forbidden love” told through the metaphor of a robot is something they could recognize in the real world. Immediately, we launched into a deep and profound discussion about love and the many politics that surround it. The girls brought up the forbidden love that sometimes taints relationships: from race to class, sexuality to religion, age and arranged marriages, the girls engaged in a deep, multilayered discussion about our country’s heaviest issues.