Codie Elaine Oliver Shares Insight On “Black Love’s” Return & Talks Life & Career
With “Black Love” returning to OWN earlier this month, fans are finally able to see how the riveting third season will conclude. Now airing at 8 p.m. EST on Friday’s, the docu-series continues to prove that love and healthy relationships are attainable by providing viewers an inside look at the authentic relationships of celebrities that we are familiar with like Terry & Rebecca Crews, David & Tamela Mann, Kandi Burruss & Todd Tucker, and more.
While “Black Love” continues to impact its audience by teaching and entertaining all of its viewers in one creative package, “Black Love” co-creators Codie and Tommy Oliver’s involvement in the show allows them to have an experience unlike any other viewer. Having their hands tied into the show before anyone else, the Oliver’s understand “Black Love” like the back of their hand and have since embodied many of the life lessons they have learned on their journey with the show in their own lives.
Back in 2013 at the Toronto Film Festival, Codie and Tommy met and began considering making the show. Fast forward to 2014, the couple are married and kicking off production for “Black Love.” While building both their relationship and family foundation, Codie and Tommy were interviewing vastly interesting couples and implementing gems of knowledge from interview sessions into their own lives. In addition to “Black Love” helping to strengthen their bond, the Oliver’s love to collaborate and work on the show as Codie describes it as their “dream job.”
As “Black Love” season three officially returned to our screens on Nov. 8, we caught up with Codie Elaine Oliver to discuss the show as well as her opinions, career, and life with her growing family.
The second half of your docuseries “Black Love” has just kicked off on OWN. What can viewers and fans look forward to this time around when they tune in?
“This year has been a year of transformation and change for me having had twins a year ago. They just turned one on Tuesday. We did these episodes after they were born. I had to start working when the kids were one month. Some of the interviews were done after the kids were born so I’m really proud of the entire season, but I think the second half goes deeper in more ways than the first. The first episodes we’re introducing you to couples, sharing pet peeves, and trying to get through some of those communication challenges that can drive you nuts enough to walk away at times. In the second half, we are digging into challenges in raising kids to having surprise kids, having a blended family, respect in marriage, as well as facing the events of our childhood and how they show up in your marriage.”
“Things are getting a little heavier as we go into the next few episodes. We have a finale that sums up what it takes to commit for decades. I think that everyone will enjoy it! The show is very much a pair-around to my husband and I and our lives in terms of starting these interviews when we were engaged to having more kids and being married five years. All of it teaches us something that we are able to infuse into the show because we now have new questions to ask.”
Reflecting on your journey, how important and impactful was it to partner with the Oprah Winfrey Network to deliver “Black Love?”
“From the moment I had this idea in my head, which was probably around the time OWN even launched, they were my first choice. I appreciate the brand that Oprah has built and what she stands for in terms of truth, vulnerability, and love. When we went out with it [“Black Love”], we did everything because we had all of the interviews shot already, we cut the first episode and we had a very detailed treatment for the first season as a whole. We brought it to several networks and OWN, to their credit, jumped on it right away. That meant so much. They were blind and they said, “We love it,” just based off of what they saw. That was very rewarding. To be able to partner with a network and distributor that stands for those things and is truly committed to showing truth and vulnerability in all relationships was just so powerful. They’ve been a great partner to have because it added something to our brand that I don’t think anyone else would have.”
In what ways do you believe working on “Black Love” may have affected your marriage and even family/friend dynamics?
“The show is a lot of who I am so in some ways, not at all. One way or another, I would be on this journey asking questions and seeking truth about relationships and love. I think that the show has given my husband and I examples, tools, and resources to have the best relationship we can. And that doesn’t make us perfect. That doesn’t make it not complicated and challenging. It just means that we have a lot of answers, but like my husband says, “Having all the resources is great, but committing them to muscle memory is more challenging.”
As a young black content creator, It’s easy to look at you and Tommy become inspired. What advice would you give to young people who want to take on the same responsibility as you: Properly portraying our people and telling our stories?
“I will answer as Tommy, who would say, “Just do it!” I have to always give Tommy credit because I certainly was scared and hesitant. I was waiting for all the right pieces to fall into place and he was like, “Let’s just do it. Let’s just shoot it.” And that’s what we did. We sat down with married couples, who we knew or were our friend’s parents, and we interviewed them. We built a reel and then we interviewed celeb friends. Then we started interviewing celebrities we didn’t know because somebody said, “Hey, this is my friend. You should interview them.” Just get started wherever you are.”
With both your show “Black Love” and your career in the industry, where do you hope your journey takes you next?
“I’m in the middle of figuring that out because I am so fortunate to be doing something that I love with this show “Black Love.” The live events that we’ve been able to do as a result. The website at BlackLove.Com that we are building to continue sharing our stories. There are film and t.v. projects that I’m working on and developing. You can’t give to everything though so I am figuring out what’s next and where to put most of my energy. What I know is that I’m committed to telling our stories and attempting to impact healthy happy relationships in our community. I’m going to do whatever allows me to put my energy into that. Whatever allows me to better our communities health and relationships.”
Feature Image via Christiane Fe