The Root: 10 Friends a Black Woman Needs to Get By

10 FriendsSeveral weeks ago a black woman in Louisiana was kidnapped by her boyfriend when she went to pick up their child from day care. The police did a requisite search for her but came up empty. That’s when her family got involved. An uncle and other male relatives tracked the woman down to an abandoned home in the sticks. They heard her cries as they approached the house. And that’s when a cousin sprang into action. Like something out of a Hollywood thriller, he busted down the door to the house. When he saw the boyfriend stabbing his relative, he shot and killed the man.

In the news photos accompanying the story, the woman is shown being cradled in her uncle’s arms as he appears to be loading her into a vehicle. She’s cut up bad, clearly scared but alive, thanks to him and other family members.

I read that story and thought, “Dang, every single woman needs men like this in her life—problem solvers” who get things “handled” like Olivia Pope. That got me to thinking about what other types of people—male and female—a lady needs to get by. This is what I came up with:


1. The “Elder” Stateswoman

She’s got seven to 10 years on you, and those few years give her an insight to your life that is priceless. She’s young enough to remember how she was at your age, and old enough to help you sidestep unnecessary drama, especially when it comes to work and men. Whatever advice she gives, 99 percent of it turns out to be right.

2. A Lady Problem Solver*

You have a good reputation and some sense, but every now and again a situation occurs when using them doesn’t solve a problem quickly. You can’t be caught acting a fool, but she doesn’t care and is willing to take the heat. When you’re at a party, if someone’s flirting with your man, she will handle it. When you find out your man is cheating, she’s willing to confront the woman (even though it’s not really the woman’s fault). You got beef, she asks, “Do I need to come up there?” (The correct answer is no.) Whenever there’s drama, she’s got your back.

3. The “All the Way Turned Up” Friend*

She’s not your day-to-day friend because you’re grown folk with a real job—and, let’s face it, too dang old to be in the club every night with her. But when you need to plan your birthday party, your bachelorette party, your get-over-an-ex party, she knows where to go—and she knows the doorman and the manager, wherever that is. She’s never a dull moment on vacation, but you can’t talk about those details—what happened in Vegas (or anywhere else) stays in Vegas.

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