NEW YORK - For the first time Essence.com, the online companion to the preeminent black women's periodical Essence magazine, will feature a lesbian couple in its "Bridal Bliss" section. Aisha and Danielle Moodie-Mills will be the first lesbian couple to have their love story and wedding photos featured on the website. They were married on August 7, 2010, at the Old Westbury Gardens in Old Westbury, New York.
"Essence has a history of covering the LBGT community and the inclusion of Aisha and Danielle's wedding in our Bridal Bliss feature is a natural extension of that commitment," said Essence.com Managing Editor Emil Wilbekin. "The Moodie-Mills are a wonderful couple with a beautiful love story, and Essence.com aims to support and celebrate black women in all their diversity."
"For 40 years, Essence has been the leading voice for black women," said Aisha Moodie-Mills, president of Synergy Strategy Group, a Washington, D.C.-based political consulting firm. "We are honored that Essence chose to tell our story of love and commitment as it makes this historic step forward."
Earlier this year, GLAAD met with Essence to discuss increased inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and issues. GLAAD brought Aisha and Danielle's powerful story to Essence.com as part of its Communities of African Descent program. The year-round program raises visibility of LGBT people of color in media outlets as a means of growing acceptance of LGBT people in these communities.
Aisha and Danielle were among those first couples to apply for a marriage license in Washington, D.C. after the capital became the sixth jurisdiction to legalize marriage. GLAAD was on the ground in March of this year training these couples to share their stories of lifelong commitment with America through the media. Aisha was one of the community leaders at the forefront for securing marriage equality in the district.
The weekly "Bridal Bliss" feature, which has traditionally only showcased straight couples, includes an in-depth interview with the couple, a storyline of the couple's six-year relationship and a beautiful slide show of the wedding.
"By being featured in Essence, we are able to share the diversity of black women and our community with Essence readers and the broader African American and mainstream community," said Danielle Moodie-Mills, senior manager of Environmental Education Campaigns for the National Wildlife Federation.
"Other media outlets should follow Essence.com's strong example of including stories of gay and lesbian people that spotlight the rich diversity of our community and the issues that affect our lives," said Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). "It's these stories that help grow acceptance of our community and give a voice to LGBT people of color who are too often invisible in the media."