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LEVEL
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Love

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Let me tell you about my most faithful friend, Georgia May

Georgia May, my ash blonde pitbull sitting at the edge of the river, the green mountains of Puerto Rico looming in the background.
Georgia May, my ash blonde pitbull sitting at the edge of the river, the green mountains of Puerto Rico looming in the background.
Photos courtesy of the author.

March is here on the island of Puerto Rico; the sun hangs a little higher in the sky as trade-wind breezes stir the ocean swell. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and with it, Georgia May’s birthday. She is seven now, with a soft tide of gray hairs encroaching her whiskers, but her pit bull eyes still shine with youth. A mixture of hope and sadness has defined her longing gaze ever since I brought her home six years ago. …


Welcome to Minority Report, a weekly newsletter from the LEVEL team that packs an entire week into a single email. From last-minute partner pick-me-ups to the week in racism, from pop-culture picks to a must-read LEVEL story, it’s everything you need and nothing you don’t. If you’re loving what you’re reading, tell a friend to tell a friend.

Valentine’s Day hits a little different this year. Sure, Cupid is still fluttering around with his crossbow, shooting unsuspecting romantics in their necks. …


The truth will set us free — it will also help us heal

Photo: Nicole Baster via Unsplash

There are two types of parents: carpenters and gardeners.

Carpenters believe they can build the kind of structure for their children that will dictate a successful outcome. But gardeners create the space to allow their children to thrive.

I liken myself to a gardener. Both of my daughters were born during revolutions. I don’t know if that makes me dumb or them martyrs. What kind of parent does that make me?

My little girls — my little Black girls — will have questions about what was happening in the time when they were children. They will remember some of what…


In the upcoming Netflix film Malcolm & Marie, John David Washington and Zendaya masterfully depict a lovers’ quarrel that goes way too far. These two are habitual line-steppers, and their night of heated back-and-forth is a master class in acting—and the do’s and don’ts of how to argue with your significant other.

Ahead of the film’s streaming release on February 5, both thespians (as well as Malcolm & Marie writer and director Sam Levinson) spoke with LEVEL’s own Aliya S. King about the art of fighting fair and how it plays out in their lives on- and off-screen. …


Dear Level

Ways to cope when your romance starts to feel like a rivalry

Illustration: Olivia Fields

So, I’m on a date with this guy. We’re walking to the train. I notice that it looks like it’s going to rain, but I tell him we should have plenty of time before it starts.

“It’s about to rain now,” he insists.

“How do you know?” I ask.

“I can just tell. I come from a long line of diviners.”

“A long line of what?”

This guy looks at me as if he’s puzzled. “You don’t know the word diviner?” he asks. “It means someone who can feel when something is coming.”

And then it started raining.

Within a…


I can’t tell you how to find your person, but I can shed some light on how I fell for mine

Photo courtesy of RCB Studios

I recently got engaged to my favorite person.

Janesha Bull is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing people I have ever met. When my friends realized how serious I was about her, they would ask me: How do you know?

I’m getting that question even more now since we’re engaged. I can tell you some of the things that made it clear, like waking up with her next to me and realizing that my life is better than any dream. When we’re angry with each other, the time apart is horrible and forces us to work things out…


Dear Level

We’re all grown. Let’s forget archaic constructs and feel free to have sex whenever we want.

Illustration: Olivia Fields

A week from now, I will be 47 years old. I am as grown as grown can be. I have an adult daughter and a teenaged daughter. I’m a divorcée and a fiancée, two fancy French words that give me extra grown woman status. I’m doing well in my career and thriving in all areas of my life. I’m blessed to have made good choices.

So why is it that a 25-year-old book and a 22-year-old television show can still control my thought process?

In 1995, Grand Central Publishing released The Rules, a self-help guide written by Ellen Fein and…


An emotionally incestuous relationship ruined my marriage — don’t let it happen to you

Photo: FG Trade/Getty Images

Incest is defined as a sexual relationship between two people who are too closely related to marry, such as parents and children, siblings, or other pairs of close family members. However, during my first marriage, I learned about something called emotional or covert incest when I realized my husband’s mother also played the role of his wife. It sounds creepy because it is — but it absolutely exists.

I knew something was off — really off — when I realized that Henry’s mother, Joan, would get upset anytime he and I exhibited public displays of affection. I found it jarring…

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