In this exclusive video premiere, Brooklyn-based couple Wil Cope and Josh Rodriguez relay the story of their wedding last October and the power of Black gay love as a part of GLAAD's series "Black Queer Love Stories."
"Growing up in my youth, in my childhood, I never thought that I would be able to get married as a gay man," Cope says.
A designer and comedian behind the podcast Narcisistas and whose "raunchy gay rap alter ego" is Hi Yello, Cope goes on to tell the story of how he proposed to Rodriguez at Christmas surrounded by his now-husband's family.
"I never envisioned myself getting proposed to or even getting married. To be able to share that with my entire family and to be supported by such a family was really special," says Rodriguez, who is the owner and creator of Ibeji Botanicals based in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood.
For their wedding day, the men created an unforgettable homage to those who came before them and a path for those who follow.
"We'd never been to a Black gay wedding. I knew that our own would be our first and would be the first for almost everyone in attendance as well as everyone in our lives that would see it on social media," Cope says.
The heartfelt event included an ancestor's table that featured photos of their loved ones who had passed and also centerpieces with photographs of Black queer couples from history.
"We felt kind of obligated to show up and be impactful in a way that represented Black gay couples in the past that weren't able to celebrate and show their love and have family there to celebrate it with them," Cope adds. "As well as Black queer couples of the future that now can have something to look to and reference, and not be kind of in the dark in the way we were, where we didn't have that representation or a ton of wedding movies and fairy tales to pull from that we could see ourselves in."
The GLAAD video series is part of an effort to shine a light on underrepresented love.
"Black queer love is love, and we shouldn't have to define what kind of love it is," Rodriguez says.
Watch Cope and Rodriguez, and listen to their own words below.