Cherilyn and Terry Smith

Cherilyn Weekes Smith is very special — as she has been a powerful voice in Black Women Empowerment.  Cherilyn, as she is known to followers of Black Women Deserve Better™ her blog, she promotes healthy, well living lifestyles for Black women.  As well, she encourages marriage for Black women to high quality men regardless of race.  Because Cherilyn practices what she preaches, it is not at all surprising that she took her own advice, and that of similarly minded bloggers.Cherilyn is a published author achieving a long desired goal.  And fulfilling her dreams, Cherilyn employed a variety of means to seek her soul mate including online dating sites.  The online dating paid off for Cherilyn.  She met and married a quality man who won her heart and love.  Power blogger, speaker, author, and wife, Cherilyn could hardly wait to tell eager and loyal followers the details of her romance and marriage.  Copies of Cherilyn’s book Black Women Deserve Better can be purchased through Amazon. com.  Be sure to check out the BWDB blog.

Where are you from?

Originally from Brooklyn, NY.  Resided both in the Bed-Stuy & Crown Heights area  *Waves to former neighbors*

What is your husband’s ethnicity?

He is multiracial.  Black, White and Native American

How did you meet?

Surprisingly on the “Plenty Of Fish” (POF) dating site. My skepticism of free dating services is high, so imagine my shock when on day 1 of my membership I met Mr.Man!   I went there on a lark expecting just another resource to meet new people and get out of the house.

How long had you known him when you got married?

Seven months. I know for some that may be a little soon but it felt RIGHT. The individuals involved have to assess their needs, weaknesses and strengths. After ending an engagement in 2006, the difference was clear. With that relationship I kept putting off marriage. That relationship lasted three years. But no matter how much time had elapsed, the situation still did not seem right. Ultimately we had to go our separate ways.

When were you married?

July 2nd, 2009

Wow that probably still seems like yesterday.  You still have that new bridal glow.  And since you met online, you are a testament to how online dating can and does work.

Yes it does. Do not allow others (especially if they are lacking in their own lives or have a vested interest in Black women being single) to prevent you from getting out there. On the other side of the coin, take heed from those who are in stable marriages. Thankfully I’ve had some good role-models.

What do you say to women who may be apprehensive about online dating?

First and foremost: JUST DO IT! I blog occasionally about navigating the personals. I recommend a single woman sign up for as many dating services and venues as can be comfortably accommodated into the budget and schedule. Personal ads, speed-dating, meetups, singles groups, including blind dates and fix ups. The possibilities are endless. Make a point to experience new people and surroundings on a regular basis. The only limitations are safety, vetting and listening to one’s instincts. And remember always to have fun (smiling).

You are so sure of yourself and your decision.

Yes ma’am. And I know there will be times where we are not “lovey-dovey” and have our differences. Occasionally he may want to leave me on someone elses doorstep…LOL! However, there is good hard WORK required in ANY relationship. The decision is made beforehand to fight for the union to last.

Do you feel any different about interracial marriage and relationships now?

Absolutely not! My husband fully supports what I do (He has three Black sisters and KNOWS the deal). In the beginning, I was a bit curious to find out what his reaction would be upon learning of my book & blog. To my surprise there was not ONE IOTA of resentment or discord over it. This served as a lesson to myself and can be a good teaching tool for others. Secure men who are PROTECTORS will not object, nor try to circumvent anyone from teaching women how to live the BEST life possible. An insecure man would continuously find ways to block the uplifting of ANY woman eventually.

So Black Women Deserve Better™ will continue encouraging Black women everywhere to expand their options in ALL areas of life!

Did you face skeptics and criticism from friends and/or family about your marriage?

My family is fully supportive and wonderful. I’ve had a couple of scoffers on the ‘Internets’ make rogue comments because my husband has brown skin. But those are the same parties who ENTIRELY miss the point (or pretend to) of BW empowerment/IR blogs. It’s about opening up choices not limiting them. Thanks to all who have expressed their well-wishes and please keep us in your prayers.

Have you ever felt pressure or experienced a significant difference between your non interracial and interracial relationships?

Nothing significant. However there is a distinction in GOOD and BAD relationships. Race aside, all couples have a period of adjustment and accommodations. Opening up oneself to dating all races will increase the chances of finding love.

Do you feel that there are societal criticisms and pressures concerning interracial relationships in the US?
Yes. There are factions from all sides who use the fear, opposition and judgment in order to maintain the status-quo. Unfortunately, no one group has a monopoly on this. But we must also be aware of these tactics in order to avoid its pitfalls.

Do you attribute or connect some of it to negative images of blacks from slavery or something else?

I attribute these trends to the following:

-Ignorance

-Fear of the unknown

-A false perception of superiority or inferiority. One thinks their race is entitled to more privileges and others are mere underlings. Or maintaining a downtrodden image of their race, allowing others (i.e., women and children) to be cast  as “lesser than”. The latter is prevalent in the false “Black Community”, creating a crabs in a barrel atmosphere where many get off on inflicting misery. Both attitudes will lead to failure for race relations.

Do you plan to have children?

Yes. Our plan is to have 1 or 2 within the next 5 years. But as the old saying goes “Men make plans and God laughs.” So we will see what happens.

Do you think race will figure into child rearing for you?

Race plays an integral part of all of our lives with both positive and negative implications. We will put much effort into educating our children about different ethnicities, religions and cultures. Hopefully they will grow up to value themselves as well as others.

When your child/children first experience racism, what do you think your advice will be?

We will make it clear that racism (including skin-shadeism) is always the OTHER PERSONS problem. God is the Creator of ALL persons and any issues should be taken up with HIM. I want all children to identify racism without internalizing it.

Where do you live now?   

Aiea, Hawaii.  This is very exciting time in my life. A lot of changes!


Do you think Aiea was a good place or interracial couples and families? 

Yes! Things have really progressed here over the years. I am seeing more diversity within interracial couples all of the time.

What have your heard about Hawaii as far as being a good place for interracial families?

My husband is good friends with a BW/HM couple in Hawaii and they seem to be thriving there.

We’ll look forward to an update on how the culture and attitudes toward IR families is there.

Of course! I will closely observe the environment during my time there and report back to you guys.

Do you have any suggestions for black women just entering interracial relationships?

Be patient with your partner and others. At the same time do not tolerate mistreatment from anyone. Do not allow interference in the relationship. Most importantly, be patient with yourself. As with any new undertaking, there is a period of  learning & adjustment. Good luck & God Bless!

This interview was originally posted in Black Female Interracial Female in July 2009.