Statistics have shown that black love is almost extinct with probably the most decrepit relationships of every race. Over 70% of black families are headed by women. Studies show that African American couples are less likely to marry and more likely to divorce due to age, poverty, and education levels.i. “Black women are only half as likely as white women to be married, and more than three times as likely as white women to never marry. As others marry, most black women remain alone.”ii. Forty percent of the male incarcerated population is African American. Further, most black men in or out of jail are playing the field, which leaves slim pickings for black women, particularly single mothers who are career-minded and busy maintaining their households with no time for games. The three major factors that contribute to the shortage of men that are most prevalent in the African American community are “black men’s incarceration constricts the market for poor and working-class black women; interracial marriage depletes the pool of men for middle-class, college-educated black women; and the economic prospects for many men have worsened while those for women have improved.”iii.
Authors, business owners, dating sites, and entrepreneurs have been benefitting from this misfortune. There has been an influx of relationship coaches who profess to assist single women in finding the man of their dreams. Even those women who have been single for decades can now have love if they pay for sessions with these professionals in love.
There is a diamond in the rough. Dedan Tolbert, Licensed Belief Therapist, has been toiling in the field for almost a decade, working with women of all ages and races to help them become emotionally available. He works with women to help them heal from past hurts, improve their self-image and self-esteem, and be available to be with the man that God has created just for them.
Dedan’s company, Tolbert Relationship Counseling, is based in Philadelphia. He has worked with hundreds of women who had nowhere else to turn and are now happy and whole. In an in-depth interview, Dedan reveals the reason he started in this profession, “I have a mother, a sister and a daughter and I would hate to see any of them go through the type of unpleasant situations so many women endure on a regular basis. I’ve been giving advice for close to 10 years and got my start writing my “Ask Dedan” advice column for a few small magazines. It can now be found syndicated in over 25 magazines around the world.”
It seems that many black men are recognizing the overwhelming number of black women who are being completely taken advantage of, used and abused by black men and are attempting in their own way to assist by arming women with advice from a man’s perspective. However, relationship counselors seem to be popping up all over the place. While the average annual salary of a marriage and family counselor is $45,000, inexperienced celebrities are landing million dollar book deals. Steve Harvey is probably the most popular celebrity who took a stand to reveal many of the “players’ secrets” to help women have a better chance of survival by recognizing the games men play and being afforded the opportunity to make an educated decision. The relationship counseling industry is becoming inundated and it is becoming more difficult to differentiate the serious, professional counselors from those who just want to write a book. Tolbert says, “This has definitely become a lucrative industry because we’re seeing more and more black women growing up without fathers in the home. The problem is that people like Steve Harvey, who are only concerned with making money and providing laughs, are giving advice that’s specifically designed to hurt black women.”
Steve Harvey introduced the concept of the 90-day rule, which is designed to help women who have no standards at all to set some standard of waiting at least 90 days before they engage in sexual activity with a man they start dating to allow time to get to know the man and see, through his actions, if he is serious about having a relationship with the woman as opposed to having a one-night stand or just being interested in sex. Tolbert says of the 90-day rule, “Steve Harvey’s 90-day rule is 100% ridiculous and will only lead to women being strung along and dogged sexually. If a man only wants sex from a woman, he’ll wait a lot longer than 90 days to get it. The only difference is that he’ll be having sex with multiple other women until the 90 days are up. After the 90 days, he’ll have sex with her and then leave her brokenhearted and single.”
One key characteristic that makes Dedan stand out from other relationship coaches is his focus. He teaches and counsels from a biblical perspective. He is now a licensed Belief Therapist, which has enhanced his knowledge and conviction of the Bible. Tolbert declares, “Over the last several years, I’ve incorporated “Belief Therapy” into my practice, which is counseling from a biblical perspective. It’s founded upon the theory that “people do what they do because they believe what they believe.” This method of counseling requires a significant amount of self-reflection and examination as well as helps to develop and strengthen a healthy relationship with God.”
From a business perspective, Tolbert states, “my ideal client would be anyone who is in need of healing or seeks to change their life.” However, he typically counsels only to Christians. Tolbert explains, “As a Belief Therapist, my methods of counseling will only be effective for believers of Jesus Christ. When it comes to non-Christians, I’m able to give general advice designed to help one get what they want and deserve out of life. If further counseling is required, I encourage them to seek a more traditional form of counseling.” He counsels predominately women and has appointments all day, typically 8 hours a day. Further, The Dedan Tolbert Show is syndicated on several networks and heard on both AM and FM radio and airs seven days a week. The discussions get so intense, that they typically last 3 hours! With a vast following, he also has a Facebook group, where people discuss various relationship topics. He usually sends a scripture and advice, such as “if a man only calls you after 11:00 at night, you are just a jump-off. Don’t allow yourself to be a jump-off. Wait on God to send you a man who will treat you with the love and respect you deserve”.
Dedan also counsels men and couples, “I actually provide dating and relationship advice to both men and women. I’ve done countless specials on teaching black men to be better fathers and husbands as well as many other topics geared to helping black men. However, I receive thousands of letters from women from around the world asking for my advice; so naturally, that’s what I’m most passionate about. Over the last 10 years, I’ve counseled a number of couples as well as conducted several 5-week premarital seminars.”
Let’s get into it. Why is this relationship game so rampant in the African-American community? Tolbert responds, “Unfortunately, there’s a serious communication gap between black men and black women…which leads to many games being played…which leads to sex and ultimately the woman being left single with hurt feelings.” So, why do women fall for so much of the BS? What makes women so vulnerable? Tolbert answers, “Many women grew up without a strong father figure in their lives, which often leads to abandonment and trust issues, as well as a variety of other “Daddy Issues”. When a woman doesn’t receive the type of love and affection she needs, she often seeks that love and affection in the arms of men.” Why do men play these games? Tolbert concludes, “You have to keep in mind that all men go through three stages. (Dog stage, player stage, ready to settle down stage).” So, men don’t necessarily mature at the same rate. There must be a solution to improve this whole discord between men and women amongst the African-American community. Tolbert offers, “I believe the key to men and women having a better understanding of each other is to eliminate casual sex from the equation. It only leads to hurt, pain and confusion.” So, now it’s after the fact. What should a woman do who has been hurt by a man? Tolbert responds, “Trust God and just take time to be by herself.”
The uniqueness of Dedan Tolbert includes his boldness. He speaks on topics that most people dare not tread, such as prostitution; how Beyonce is leading young women and girls in the wrong direction; the mindset of men; generational curses; and the negative images of Basketball Wives. Dedan attempts to get women to understand that they should desire an Elite man. He explains what it means to a man when women are dressed provocatively or carry themselves in a less than classy manner and how men classify women: either as a woman they want to be in a relationship with or a woman simply to have sex with. He explains, “An Elite man is basically a man who will have all the qualities a woman looks for. He’s the man that God blesses a woman with once she achieves 100% emotional availability.”
Dedan is happily married with a beautiful baby daughter. He prayed for a wife and utilizing the discernment that God has given him, he sought and found a wife. It is his desire that everyone has the love and happiness he has. He believes there is no such thing as being happily single. He says, “God has placed us ALL on this earth to find love. At the end of the day, everyone wants and needs love in their life.”
Many times, women experience so much pain, they shut down and give up on happiness. So, when they hear a message like Dedan’s, a message of hope, a message of trust, a message of waiting on God, they are resistant. He speaks on women with rebellious attitudes, “Anytime you’re doing God’s work, you’re going to experience resistance from the enemy. That’s where the devil comes in. However, I’ve always experienced favor from God which allows my message to be heard by the people who need to hear it the most.” Confident that this work is his calling, Tolbert does his work with conviction. He states, “I’m 100% sure that helping to change people’s lives is what I’m called to do. It’s the perfect fit because my work is needed, plus I love doing what I do.” And when asked, “At the end of your career, what would you like people to say about Dedan Tolbert?” He responded, “There will never be an end of my career. The day I stop helping people who need it, is the day that I die.” This is typical Dedan.
Master your hustle.
ii. Banks, Richard Ralph, “Is Marriage for White People?: How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone”, 2011, page 7.
iii. Banks, Richard Ralph, “Is Marriage for White People?: How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone”, 2011, page 29.