Oman Frame, a graduate of Hampton University and teacher of race, class and gender at the Paideia School in Atlanta, recognized the woman he would later marry at a National Association of Independent Schools for People of Color conference. Two years prior, while visiting Bermuda with a group of kids for a science field trip, he ventured alone one night to Lover’s Lake.
“The legend of Lover’s Lake asks that you walk around the lake three times during a full moon at midnight,” he says. “Three days later you’ll have a dream of the person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with.” Walking that lake in full faith, Oman was disappointed he didn’t have the dream that night. “I was like, I didn’t have no dream! I was all mad. Then I forgot about it.”
But on the third night, like myth-work she appeared, clearly. Oman goes on. “She was dancing, to the song ‘Romantic Call’ by Patra. But when I say the dream was clear, it was like a zoom in picture of her face.” That woman was Naimah Oladuwa.
Naimah, a Wesleyan University alum and math teacher at the Children’s School, met Oman two years later in December 2000. “Oman was sitting in the front row of the conference when I first saw him. I’m a back row kind of person,” Naimah says. “We ended up in a group of seven together and had to build this Lego project. He and I just clicked. I thought he was handsome, intelligent and very charismatic. Very opposite of me in some ways, and I think we complimented each other very well.”
But at the time, she lived in Boston and he resided in Denver. After a long distance friendship, he suggested she move to Denver with him. She did.
Oman didn’t reveal his magical dream to her until a year after they were together. He wrote his experience to her in a letter. Oman calls Naimah very pragmatic, and describes himself as all emotional, with heartstrings everywhere. “I was like, ‘don’t freak out, don’t freak out,” he recalls. He thought it was important for her to know that this isn’t any run-of-the-mill relationship; she was his ideal and this is divine.
Nature is an outstanding theme with the couple, and Naimah loves butterflies. That noted in the mind of the romantic. Oman took her to the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver to ask her to marry him. “I sat down on the bench next to her. I never wanted her to think I would be above nor beneath her—an equal playing field in life.” Naimah says, “It was fabulous. But we’re very simple people. It was the opening weekend for Star Wars. So we had our moment in the Pavilion, got engaged and we went to see Star Wars!”
The two married in Martha’s Vineyard, where the felt they could be spiritually connected to the earth and the ocean as well as to family. Oman’s godfather and Naimah’s father, an African drummer, officiated. “We wrote our own vows. We received the blessing of the elders from my grandmother and Naimah’s uncle.”
When the DJ got the dates confused and didn’t show for the reception, once again, there was divine intervention. “Can you imagine a Black party with no DJ?! But it’s great how the universe works.” For an hour and a half, waiting on the DJ, friends and family got up and told stories about Naimah and Oman. “There was laughter, tears and a good amount of libations [read: cocktails], so the stories got more and more interesting. It was one of the most amazing events of family and community.”
Naimah is currently six months pregnant, and the Frames have one daughter. Naimah’s family being deeply rooted in African tradition, they waited a month before naming her. “In one of her ultrasounds, we could only see her feet, and I love sneakers!” Oman adds. “So when we took her home from the hospital, she was called Little Foot. Little Foot Frame.” The name they eventually chose came to Little Foot’s mom in a dream: Suriyah Ngozi, which means “golden one who brings blessings and purpose.”
“Fatherhood has given me perspective on my purpose,” Oman says. “It’s the most humbling thing in the world to be present when your child is born. I’m already an emotional person, but it opened me up to being available emotionally. Naimah and I connected on a higher level, and it brought me into the perspective as a man raising a daughter.”
Oman feels having a daughter has made him more in tune. “It’s annoying: you go to the toy store and there are fifty different White dolls and three or four Black dolls. It made me open my mind to the situation happening to Black women in America. How the education system needs to be more representative of everyone, especially people of color.”
Daddy thinks the coolest thing about Suriyah is her laugh and her creativity. “This child gets up in the morning playing, and she has these stories she tells where you can peak into the window of her mind. She puts on tap shoes, a princess dress, a crown, Mardi Gras mask, Wonder Woman cuffs and plays the djimbe.
“She weaves these incredible stories about what her dolls are doing,” he continues, “if they’re cooking or going to dinner. It’s great to see her play out relationships she sees. I deejay, so she has hijacked all my lights and turned her playroom into a de facto club. She turns on the music and does interpretive dance under the disco light. That’s hilarious!”
The Coolest Black Family in America is an EBONY.com original series: an ongoing look at the intricacies, layers and compelling beauty of African-American family life. Of course, The Coolest Black Family is not one family but many. In fact, we’ve found that there are as many Coolest Black Families as there are versions of cool. Also consider: family doesn’t always mean mother + father + kids. What defines family is connected hearts and supported souls. Ride with us weekly as we crisscross the country in search of kinfolk whose cool is so palpable and real, it comes second only to their love. Think your cool fam qualifies? Email us at digitalpitche[email protected] (with Coolest Black Family in the subject line)!
Joicelyn Dingle travels to find the Coolest Black Family in America exclusively for EBONY.com. She splits her time between Savannah and Brooklyn. She is currently completing a documentary on the making of Honey magazine and the 1990s urban publishing era. Friend her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @editorialgenius.