port of harlem magazine
 
mike jones state farm
 
Lisa and Rasheida Bennett
 
July 16 – July 29, 2020
 
lisa and rasheida



“The so-called flyover states have long been an avatar for the real America — small towns, country music, conservatism, casseroles and amber waves of grain. Whiteness,” wrote Tamara Winfrey-Harris in a New York Times opinion piece, Stop Pretending Black Midwesterners Don’t Exist. She could have added “straightness,” if her article was not about politics, but about Gary, Indiana’s Lisa and Rasheida Bennett.

The Bennett’s have been married for 18 years, have 4 children, and 6 grandchildren. They are sharing their midwestern story on the Internet to help others understand that you can have the "American Dream" and an outstanding relationship with Jesus Christ. With more than 6,000 Instagram followers,  2,600 Facebook Likes, and 6,000 followers on their YouTube channel, the Steel City empty nesters are redefining what it means to be a same-sex couple in America’s heartland.

“We have a prenup,” declared Rasheida.  Then she added, “and all is says ‘is divorce is not an option.’”

Rasheida grew up in Rochester and Lisa in Gary, a majority Black blue-collar town of 80,000. They had settled in Rochester, but as Lisa’s parents and grandparents grew older, they bought a house in Gary and Lisa took a job that allowed here to live in both cities. “We needed to come back home,” she says about the industrial suburb about 30 minutes from Mayor Lightfoot’s Chicago and 60 minutes from former Mayor Buttigieg’s South Bend, both same gender loving mayor of their middle of the country cities.

If a large company picks up the show, they want to keep the production Gary based. “We would like to bring some of the shine back to Gary,” says Lisa, a former associate pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Gary.

In one show they explain that they started the show after asking their children why the neighborhood children hung around their house and if their parents know they were hanging around a same-sex household. My daughter, Lisa told Port Of Harlem, “responded to ours concerns with that ‘is your generation’s hang ups, we have other things to think about.’”

The child’s response stunned Lisa and Rasheida, who now conclude that many issues are generational. “The younger generation are less concerned about gender, color, race, etcetera,” Lisa surmised.  She then recalled an earlier revelation when she dated a woman, who was once a man. “I had to learn that self identification was different from who you wanted to date,” she confided.  
However, they have created a platform for people to introspect and grow. “No matter the makeup, couples are the same,” added Lisa. “Generally, the two biggest issues are communications and money,” she continued.
The Bennett’s don’t claim to have all the answers and find that they are growing every day, along with their diverse audience. However, they have created a platform for people to introspect and grow.  “No matter the makeup, couples are the same,” added Lisa. “Generally, the two biggest issues are communications and money,” she continued.

While many of the shows focus on couples, they tackle a variety subjects from haircuts during the pandemic to traditional gender roles on the variety of the platforms they use plus an every Wednesday ZOOM meeting that people from around the world, including San Francisco and New York, can peek in and see what’s happening in our world including “flyover country.”

Wednesday's
https://zoom.us/j/812385298
Meeting ID: 812 385 298
Password: 295985



 
 
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