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‘Black Love’ Creators Tommy and Codie Elaine Oliver Launch First Virtual Summit


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For the third consecutive year, filmmakers Tommy and Codie Elaine Oliver will host the Black Love Summit, bringing their hit OWN docuseries to life with discussions about relationships and community.

Taking place virtually this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the summit will run Nov. 14 and 15 and feature special guests Jemele Hill, Sterling K. Brown and wife Ryan Michelle Bathe, and Grammy-winning couple Erica and Warryn Campbell. The two-day event will cover a wide range of topics including love, sex, finances, music and the weight of being Black in America. The Olivers will also each respectively host a “Husbands” and “Wives” panel, and will welcome couples from their Black Love show for conversations about celebrating and improving relationships.

“We wanted to continue to have boundary-pushing conversations about love and relationships in the Black community, and we wanted to do it in an intimate way where people can ask questions and we can really address all of the questions that we’ve gotten over our experience with the series,” says Elaine Oliver of starting the summit three years ago. It followed the success of the OWN docuseries, now in its fourth season after debuting as the network’s highest-rated unscripted show, which features honest and emotional love stories with big names in entertainment, as well as with everyday couples.

After kicking off the event in Los Angeles in 2018 and in Atlanta in 2019, this year’s virtual summit features some in-person discussions pre-recorded in L.A. and aims to mirror the in-person experience online. And after selling out at 750 attendees the last two years, going virtual “allows us to bring it to more households, to more people that we couldn’t in the past, and frankly didn’t want to,” says Elaine Oliver.

And in a year that has seen extreme challenges for the Black community — with the Black Lives Matter movement and disproportionate impact from COVID-19 — the Olivers say those topics will make their way into the summit, including in a conversation called “Say It Loud: We’re Black and Proud… But We’re Also Exhausted.”

“We’re always going to be talking about what matters to the Black community period, whether it’s 2017, 2020, January, December,” Elaine Oliver says. “Whatever we’re experiencing impacts our individual selves and it impacts our relationships, and not just romantic relationships — the ones we have with our kids, the ones we have with our parents. The conversation around love and relationships is never just that, because we are carrying so much as Black people in America, but especially in 2020, with so much coming to to the forefront.”

Brown and Bathe will serve as the Black Love keynote conversation, moderated by Elaine Oliver, about navigating their relationship from meeting at Stanford to becoming in-demand actors, while also raising two young sons. The weekend will serve as a lesson in having important and challenging conversations, Elaine Olive says, with emphasis on “break[ing] the notion that it’s always perfect and pretty. Life is not social media, so we try to take it a step further and showcase that the reality is that we’re all doing the best that we can and we can continuously be better.”

The Black Love Summit is supported by Neutrogena and Amazon original Sylvie’s Love.

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