Paris. London. Italy. France. The Maldives. No matter where your imagination wanders, the travel bug …
“Women want three things. They want to be seen, they want to be secure, and they want to feel significant.”
Stated firmly, confidently, and succinctly — this was one of the many “Jack-isms” Inspire N Style encountered while in the throes of a deep discussion with Atlanta-based expert Jack A. Daniels; a celebrated psychotherapist, best-selling author, award-winning speaker, and co-host of FYI’s newest dating reality series #BlackLove.
Already the center of buzz, FYI’s latest reality venture focuses on five dynamic, black women in New York City – all who will “embark on a unique journey to uncover what they are doing wrong when it comes to finding love.” A far cry from mainstream dating shows, #BlackLove enlists the help of relationship experts, like Daniels, to help the women truly discover their true match, and inevitably get back to the basics.
“Over the past year, FYI has created genre-defining, trend-setting content,” said Gena McCarthy, Senior Vice President of Programming and Development for FYI.
“We are always looking at what’s next, and often it’s our viewers who pave the way. This show’s unique title and concept was created in that spirit and stems from the overwhelming social media use of the hashtag during the first season of ‘Married at First Sight,’ as viewers rooted for the marriage of Monet Bell and Vaughn Copeland.”
Featuring Laree “LA” Thomas, a 35-year old travel consultant; Monet Bell, newly single from FYI’s original Married at First Sight series; Tennesha Wood, a 30-year old regional sales manager; Cynthia Branch, a 38-year old licensed social worker and life coach; and Jahnil “Jae” Eady, a 26-year old web developer, (pictured from left to right above) we already have 5 good reasons on why we’ll be tuned in to this latest series.
“I think #BlackLove is different in a way that—it’s really solution focused,” Daniels noted. “There is no drama, there is no backstabbing, [and] there is no fighting. It’s really one of the first positive shows that black women are a part of in terms of this whole reality culture.”
Echoing the sentiments of many, viewers continually voice concerns surrounding unfavorable stereotypes of black women in the media, to no avail – until now.
“I’ve turned down several shows over the years simply because of the way that some of these shows are portraying black women,” Daniels admitted.
“It really gets under my skin when you see the bickering, the fighting, the backstabbing, and all of the things that go on in some of these other shows. I know that that’s not who the majority of black women that I know…interact with one another.”
But before we heaved a sigh of relief, we decided to test the self-proclaimed “King of Breakthroughs,” to peek curiously into his array of dating expertise, and to see why the “no nonsense therapist” is one who can proudly proclaim results for not one, not two, but hundreds of clients who are in search of love.
For a shot of Jack, insight into #BlackLove, and a little bit of everything in between, read on for the scoop.
Inspire N Style: Let’s chat about #BlackLove. What makes this show different from all of the other reality dating shows out on the market today?
Jack Daniels: “I think it’s different because there’s a solution. Some of these other dating shows…are putting on a show without allowing people to really get results. What we’re doing in #BlackLove is an experience that is giving people viable solutions on how they can apply some of the strategies, tips, and resources that we’re providing them, to their lives.”
The King of Breakthroughs. The No Nonsense Therapist. The Master of Results. As artfully as these phrases describe you, tell us a little bit more about your role on #BlackLove and what the viewing audience can expect.
“I am the no nonsense therapist that gets the women into shape and to realize some of the roadblocks they have in their way, some of the limited barriers, and some of the belief systems they’ve been having in terms of self-sabotage and not really understanding why they can’t find love. We help them tap into a different version of themselves in terms of ‘how can they find love and happiness in a better way and a different approach versus what they’ve been doing for the last 30 years of their lives.’
We did this in a series of workshops where we took them through a 10-week process of uncovering unresolved issues, [and] uncovering what they actually want in a relationship or what they’re looking for in love and identifying how they are getting in their own way when it comes to love.”
We’ve talked about the media’s portrayal of black women overall when it comes to reality television. Why did you decide to be a part of #BlackLove despite these connotations?
“For me, it was really a conscious decision of being a part of something that was going to uplift, that was going to be positive, [and] that was going to be life-changing as well as solution-based.
I still believe that there are so many men out here [who] are looking for quality women and…I’ve been able to provide solutions that actually have helped several people do the exact same thing that we’re talking about here – which is find one another.”
Along the same lines of black women and their portrayal in the media, another negative perception circles around an inability to get into successful and healthy relationships. Can you weigh in on this issue from a professional perspective?
“I don’t think that it’s a black or a white thing. It’s a person thing. A lot of people get in their own way in a variety of ways – whether it’s unrealistic expectations or whether it’s a fear of responsibility of taking on someone else’s something else, and not being selfish.
We’ve come up in a world where we’re just so inebriated on the drug of our own success, that we don’t know how to be in a healthy, lasting relationship.
You’ll find a woman who will typically say ‘I keep dating the same person over and over again.’
Well, you’re not dating the same person over and over again. You’re bringing yourself into that relationship over and over again, and some of your bad stories that exist.
If you learn how to re-script some of the stories that have happened to you or that are happening to you, and start with a blank slate, I think that you’ll be able to attract the love versus attracting what it is that you don’t want – which is that same repetitive story that’s been happening.”
You hit on bad stories and unrealistic expectations. What are other common mistakes that people make while trying to find love?
“Professionally I see so many people that settle. They settle because they’re either lonely or horny, or their eggs are drying up (jokingly). Whatever the case is, they settle and they end up settling for a piece of a man, instead of a whole man.
I believe that settling has created an entire culture of side chicks. If you are someone who’s settling for something like that, just to say that you have “a piece of,” you’ll never have peace.
In terms of men…we don’t have a relationship problem, I think that men have a responsibility problem. There are too many men [who] are afraid to own up and be responsible for someone else or something else other than themselves. We have become so selfish that we don’t know how to be responsible. That has really alienated us from connecting to quality women.”
So would you say, for men, that chivalry is dead?
“If chivalry is dead, women killed it. There are so many women that don’t demand to be romanced. What has happened is — you have a lot of women who don’t even know how they want to be treated, so they’re taking anything. They’re not demanding guys to be chivalrous, and they’re not demanding guys to treat them with a degree of respect, love, sacrifice, and service. They’re not even demanding to have a title in a relationship. Women have stopped demanding to be catered to in a way that they deserve to be catered to.
In terms of my wife, I wanted to find her, pursue her, and marry her – and in that order.”
“Dating does not equal sex. Dating is a getting to know you process that allows a person the opportunity to understand your values, your requirements, your needs, your wants, and to make the determination as to whether or not they’re going to connect with you so that it grows into a more evolved relationship.”
With that being said, do you give online dating two thumbs up or two thumbs down?
“I do recommend online dating. Know that it’s the sign of the times, and I think that with everyone’s busy schedule, it’s an opportunity to get you outside of your comfort zone and into someone else’s space.
Online dating evens the odds a little bit but it also gives you an opportunity to at least have some options versus going to work, coming home, taking care of the kids, and going to church.”
If you keep doing your routine and your routine hasn’t yielded a relationship yet, you will be relationship-less. You have to get outside of your comfort zone.
Well, you’ve definitely given us a lot to chew on – definite food for thought. Besides getting to see you in action and learning more of these valuable relationship tidbits, what is your top reason for why viewers should tune into #BlackLove?
“The biggest reason people should watch this show is because they’re going to be able to connect with these women in a way that has been unseen on television before. These are stories of their lives that they’re putting out there to say ‘I don’t have it all together, I’m not perfect, but I really want love in my life.’
There are so many women that are going to relate to these stories because these are the same routines that they go through, and I really want them to get quality, practical solutions that are going to help them get out of their routine, and into a real healthy relationship that they’ll be able to thrive in and will be able to grow in as well.”
#BlackLove premieres on the FYI Channel Tuesday, December 8 at 10:15 EST.
Jack A. Daniels, also known as the King of Breakthroughs, is a psychotherapist, media personality, award-winning speaker and 5 time best-selling author of books such as, “I Need a Wife…Where are the REAL Women?” and “Stay Out of Your Own Way.” Daniels is the founder of The Breakthroughs Institute and one of the world’s leading authorities for overcoming fears and getting people unstuck in love, relationships, business or life.
He’s been featured on BBC, Fox News, Bravo, BET, CBS, NBC, ABC, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, People, DateDaily, and now the A&E Network’s FYI Channel. For more information on Jack, visit jackdaniels.com.