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EBONY - The LOVE Issue


Each February, we traditionally extol the awesome power of love. This year is no different as again we present EBONY’s Hottest Couples. Everyone loves a good love story, and this year’s unions are proof that no matter how much times change, true love never grows old. From a prince and his lovely lady to a conscious rapper and his activist sweetheart, some pairings just make us sit up and take note. We also thought it would be interesting to look into our archives to see EBONY couples from the past. Some have endured the test of time, others haven’t. Still, both then and now, they inspire us to dream about and pursue love. —The Editors

DeVon Franklin professes his unconditional love to his wife, Meagan Good, in his exclusive love letter

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By Shirley Henderson

Next to every successful superhero is an equally powerful superwoman. In the case of Black Panther, in theaters this month, a cast of gorgeous, accomplished African-American actresses lend their talents to the much buzzed-about project.

Get the digital issue to read more.

Click on images to enlarge
The Ladies of Wakanda
The Ladies of Wakanda
The Ladies of Wakanda
The Ladies of Wakanda
The Ladies of Wakanda
The Ladies of Wakanda



For years, it’s been our pleasure to bring our readers couples who represent love and commitment in honor of Valentine's Day. This year, we are continuing that tradition, but we’re adding some unlikely names and faces to the list.

The lovebirds in our Hottest Couples feature have received major media buzz. Still, every tweet, Facebook post and Instagram photo can take a toll on a relationship and, thanks to technology, today’s celebrity couples are even more under the microscope than ever before.

But love isn't always a fairy tale. For example, two of our couples made it through social media firestorms—for different reasons. Kevin Hart and his wife, Eniko Parrish, showed the world how to overcome a scandal that would have ended most marriages. And newly engaged Prince Harry of Wales and Meghan Markle inspired many of us with their courtship—even amid the trolls and haters—that may unintentionally improve race relations.

And speaking of race, we have noticed an uptick in racially motivated crimes and incidents across the country. To understand why some hate groups are growing, read "High Times for Hate Crimes," page 24. And lest we think that other races are the problem entirely, don’t miss "Where Did Our Love Go?" on page 22. It’s a look at the violence perpetuated on Black trans women by members of our own community.

You'll need to rewind this month, too. The Culture section takes a look at Memphis, page 34, which is brimming with Black history, great food and much more. Later in the issue, we visited Bow Wow, page 54, at his home. The rapper is also a reality TV star, appearing on Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta.

Linda Johnson Rice

And the wait is over! Black Panther, the new Marvel film, opens in theaters. The online teaser trailer garnered 89 million page views in the first 24 hours of its release, probably just to catch a glimpse of the beautiful women in the film: Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Florence Kasumba, Angela Bassett and Letitia Wright.

We sincerely hope you enjoy this issue. It was put together to get you thinking and talking—and of course, loving.

Linda Johnson Rice
—Linda Johnson Rice,
CEO of Ebony Media Operations

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Inside This Month's EBONY Magazine

10 Letters
12 CEO's Letter
14 Making the Cover
16 The Insiders
20 As seen on

22 Culture
Activist LaLa Zannell Speaks Out Against LGBTQ Violence; Chandra Thomas Whitfi eld on the Growth of White Supremacy; #Goals: Mary Spio, Founder and CEO of CEEK VR; EBONY Power 100 Gala Recap; Travel: Exploring the Magic of Memphis

37 Fashion
Must-Have Accessories; Watches for Him; The Prettiest, Laciest Underthings

46 Beauty
The Season’s Best Hair Care Tips; ’Do Fixer-Upper Products: White-Hot Platinum Hair; Beauty Diaries: Thandie Newton; Cannabis Skin Care Products Create Buzz; Jamyla Bennu Presents Oyin Handmade Men’s Grooming Aids

54 Lifestyle
Chillin’ at Home With Bow Wow; Culinary Historian Adrian Miller on Sexy Soul Food; Luxury Cruises for You and Your Boo; Health: The Truth About Your Sweet Tooth; The Belly Dancing Fitness Craze; Relationships: How to Accept a Proposal—or Not

68 Perfect Pairings
EBONY’S Hottest Couples represent true love, commitment and success—and they look great doing it.

80 Black Panther Women
Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett are the stars of Black Panther, Marvel’s Black superhero movie.

84 Entertainment
Spotlight on Lil Rel Howery; Late-Night Host Robin Thede Speaks Out; HGTV House Flippers Andy & Ashley Williams; Books: True Reads; Tank & Lamman Rucker’s Romantic Playlists; Streaming Sounds of Love

98 Back In The Day
Carter G. Woodson