Five years ago Shontai and Tianna met and fell in love. Last September, Shontai celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary by dedicating a music video to her wife. The couple lives in Connecticut with their seven-year-old daughter, Zani. They share more of their story below:
Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): How did you meet?
Shontai: She approached me at a nightclub. She had been checking me out on a couple of websites like Downelink and MySpace. But I had just gotten out of a relationship literally 48 hours before. She said, are you going to call me, and I said, I don’t know. She asked me if I had a girlfriend and then said, it doesn’t matter you’re going to call me. She was very assertive and I thought it was cute.
After that, I went to the corner of the club and started looking up her profile on Downelink. That was a long night. I went home. She went home. The next morning I was hesitant about calling her too [early], so I called her in the afternoon. Unbeknown to me she works the third shift and sleeps during the day. When I called, she tried to act like she wasn’t sleepy but we stayed on the phone until it was time for her to go to work. She got no sleep that day. From there she kept in touch.
Tianna: When I saw her at the club, I got up the confidence to say something. I was winging it. I had to be a little aggressive, but yeah I had to make sure she called me. I just thought she was pretty and just never had a chance to talk to her and felt like why not give it a try and see what happened. I never ever thought I would stay with her.
BL3: What do you love about each other?
Shontai: When I first met her, she was really just a firecracker. She wasn’t my type and I don’t think she even had a type. I like what she’s grown and become. I like the fact that she took a chance with me. She cooks really good breakfast and I like the fact that she holds me down. She might talk a lot of crap, but in the end she’s going to be there for me.
Tianna: I love her personality; it is awesome. I just love the way she believes in the relationship and takes it to the extreme. She’s more outspoken than me. I’m still shy sometimes around her after all these years. She’s very different. I’m calm. We just click like that.
BL3: When did you first know you were in love with each other?
Shontai: I think about a month after we met and we just started spending a lot of time together. I think we both knew it but she wanted to be the more assertive one.
Tianna: I think I knew after a year that I needed her to be with me. I couldn’t be with anyone else even though we had our ups and downs. I probably was the one causing all the problems, but I just knew I couldn’t let her get away.
BL3: Tianna, is that why you proposed?
Tianna: I felt like it was the right time. I was ready. I knew I wasn’t going anywhere and I wasn’t going to let her go anywhere so we might as well be together forever. With her I felt like I got all the gifts already and no gifts are more important than her. I felt like she deserved [a ring] and wanted to make it happen.
BL3: How did she propose?
Shontai: Tianna proposed on our third year anniversary, August 1, 2009. She proposed at this park. She brought me three Twizzlers. I don’t like candy so this is the only candy I’ll eat. She had this little speech and asked me to marry her on the blanket in the park.
BL3: Why did you say yes?
Shontai: I said yes because any relationship will come with issues and knew she was worth going through it with. We put a lot of time and put work into us and I wanted to build.
BL3: How did your families first react your wedding announcement?
Shontai: The day that Tianna asked me to marry her, I asked her if she asked my parents and she said wanted us to do it together. We went to my mom, grandmother and dad. My mom asked us, “Did you talk to God first?” Tianna said, yes but knew she didn’t. My mom said she needed to think about it first. We basically told her we were not asking for her permission, simply telling her. Then my mother came to the conclusion that she couldn’t be there for us. It got really nasty and got to the point where I didn’t like my mom for a really long time. It was probably just this month that we started talking again. She acknowledges my wife not as her daughter-in-law but my wife. That’s a start compared to where we were.
Tianna: When I told my mom we were going to get married at first she said she didn’t want to hear it, which threw me because before that they were all for our relationship. OMG, it kind of hurt my feelings, and 10 minutes later she said she wasn’t mad or anything, it was just something to get used to. Sometimes it’s hard on parents to find out your child is gay. But my mom was like, “I’m not going to disown you. I love you and love Shontai. My family was a blessing and they accepted it. I didn’t think it was going to be easy but they’re all for it.”