Brooklyn couple featured in premiere of GLAAD’s ‘Black Queer Love Stories’ series

GLAAD is highlighting Black queer love, and we absolutely love to see it!

In an exclusive premiere, The Advocate has shared the first video in a series of videos planned by GLAAD that will highlight underrepresented love entitled Black Queer Love Stories. In the first video, Brooklyn-based couple Wil Cope and Josh Rodriguez share the story of their October 2020 wedding, showing us the true power of Black gay love. 

Designer and comedian Cope, who also has a “raunchy gay rap alter ego” named Hi Yello, speaks about his life growing up as he shares the story of his proposal to Rodriguez. “Growing up in my youth, in my childhood, I never thought that I would be able to get married as a gay man,” Cope states in the video. 

Rodrguez, the founder of Ibeji Botanicals in Brooklyn, says: “I never envisioned myself getting proposed to or even getting married. To be able to share that with my entire family and to be supported by such a family was really special.”

The men also describe how they paid homage to their ancestors with their ceremony. For Rodrguez, who is Dominican/Afro-Latinx, and Cope, who is Black, honoring their ancestors — the Black, Brown, Latinx and Hispanic queer people who weren’t allowed to be married, was extremely important to them. 

“Our wedding was a representation of all the people that have not been able to get married, who have not been able to exercise their rights, and not able to outwardly love who they love,” said Rodriguez to Out Magazine in November.

For this reason, there was an ancestors table that featured photos of older gay relatives and couples, and also held space for relatives that could not be there to share their special day. Donning headpieces made of cowrie shells, crystal headpieces, and ivory and white pieces trimmed with jewels and crystals, the couple also invoked the spirit of their culture through their aesthetic. 

“We felt kind of obligated to show up and be impactful in a way that represented Black gay couples in the past that weren’t able to celebrate and show their love and have family there to celebrate it with them,” Cope states. “As well as Black queer couples of the future that now can have something to look to and reference, and not be kind of in the dark in the way we were, where we didn’t have that representation or a ton of wedding movies and fairy tales to pull from that we could see ourselves in.”

The GLAAD video series serves as a way to highlight these stories of Black love while also combatting the lack of representation of Black queer love in the media. “Black queer love is love, and we shouldn’t have to define what kind of love it is,” Rodriguez says.

Watch the first video in GLAAD’s Black Queer Love Stories series here!

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Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.