Also.Also.Also: Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts Are the First Same-Sex Couple to Cover Essence Magazine, Ever

Photo of Neicy Nash and Jessica Betts, the first same sex couple to cover Essence magazine, by Araya Doheny/Getty Images

Today’s link round up is brought to you by…. Happy Black Love DAY!!!

I hope Carol Denise “Niecy” Betts and Shawntae “Da Brat” Harris are being loved on by their women tonight and held close. I hope — whatever that looks like for you — that you’re loved tonight, too. And I hope it for me.

Queer as in F*ck You

Am I including EVERY SINGLE GOTDAMN NIECY NASH TWEET??? Oh you know I am.

And now, the full cover story, from Essence: Niecy Nash And Wife Jessica Are Sure Betts

I feel like maybe you have to be Black to really truly get it, what a historic, unprecendented, full body shiver of a day this is. But more that you have to be Black and grew up when print media was still a thing. To grow up with Essence in every hair salon. To remember what it felt like when you would read to feel “grown” while you listened to actual grown women gossip under the dryer. To have it be tangible on your coffee table, or your grandmother’s. To remember the smell of its ink and the sort of tactile sticky light weight of turning its pages in your hands.

There are so few cross-generational, iconic, passed down, legacies of Black media — because, well, (and if you read our website you already know this) money for publication in marginalized communities for press that is for us, and by us, comes slim. But Essence, despite every single odd, continues to stand for 51 years. We have Essence, and today Essence really had us. Beautiful, striking, bare and in love. Being held. Us.

There’s a lot — A LOT — of fucked up shit happening in the world right now. I get that. I don’t want to short change it. Not at all. But today also mattered. This seemingly small magazine cover mattered. Da Brat getting married to the love of her life mattered. Even in the abyss, there are small moments of solace. There are glimmers that where we’re going isn’t where we’ve been. I’m grateful for that today.

Let’s see about some other queer news!

Sha’Carri Richardson Is Running Her Own Race. “The athlete opens up to Teen Vogue about Black womanhood, forgiveness, and moving on.”

AHHHHH!!!! Amy Schneider, History-Making Jeopardy Champion, Is Engaged to Her Girlfriend Genevieve Davis

Here’s Where to Watch All the 2022 Oscar-Nominated LGBTQ+ Movies

While Some Banned Queer Books See a Sales Bump, Others Quietly Disappear. I still cannot believe we are back to banning fucking books.

Saw This, Thought of You

Who’s Afraid of Pamela Anderson?

‘We Should Hate It, but It Works’: An Oral History of the Inexplicably Star-Studded, Hallucinogenic Ending of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again.

(What a magnificent time to revisit our Managing Editor Kayla‘s original review of Meryl Streep’s camp masterpiece, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” Is the Mommiest Movie of the Summer 2018)

What to Expect From the Variants to Come

Political Snacks

The Harrowing First Day of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine and then read this: Dictators Aren’t Pretending Anymore

I think (like so many of us who are cis, from what I’ve seen) that I’ve been stunned silent by the blatant, cruel, no holds barred transphobia of yesterday’s decision by Gov. Abbott in Texas. It’s hard when you see such unvarnished hatred out in the open to even know how to begin striking back. This was a Trump tactic too, murder them in the middle of 5th avenue remember? And then everyone will be in such shock that they won’t know what to do next.

But fuck that. That’s not an excuse. There can be no more excuses. Your required reading today is this call to action from Chase Strangio: Texas Is Terrorizing Trans Youth. And also I hope we all protect Chase, who has been working himself to the bone for so many years now, and the fight keeps coming.

If you’re a parent of a trans kid, I saw other parents of trans kids finding this practical and generous tweet thread helpful, so I wanted to pass it along.

If you’re a trans teen reading this, there are adults who love you, this community loves you, and we are fighting back to protect you. We’ve won before. We will win again.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Carmen Phillips

Carmen Phillips is Autostraddle's former editor in chief. She began at Autostraddle in 2017 as a freelance team writer and worked her way up through the company, eventually becoming the EIC from 2021-2024. A Black Puerto Rican feminist writer with a PhD in American Studies from New York University, Carmen specializes in writing about Blackness, race, queerness, politics, culture, and the many ways we find community and connection with each other.  During her time at Autostraddle, Carmen focused on pop culture, TV and film reviews, criticism, interviews, and news analysis. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. And there were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. To reach out, you can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram, or her website.

Carmen has written 716 articles for us.


  1. Me yesterday seeing the Essence cover: 😱😱😱

    Me today after reading Carmen’s beautiful words about why this matters so much: 😭 😭 😭

    Thank you, Carmen, for capturing the monumental-ness of this Essence cover ♥️ I cannot wait to have a physical copy and see it at the store!!

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!