For the first time in its 52 years as an iconic Black women’s magazine, Essence will feature a same-sex couple on its cover.
And it’s none other than the Bett’s ( Jesicca Betts and Niecy Nash).
The couple, who married in September 2020, talked to writer Demetria Lucas about what they love about each other, the public’s reaction to their marriage, and more.
@wendymixon #niecynash #jessicabetts #married #wedding #lgbtq #reno911 #claws #lovewins #ShowAndTell ♬ As (Stevie Wonder Remix) – Gary L. Wyatt
“Honoring breakthrough moments is a powerful theme in our March/April issue. Since Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts’ surprise announcement that they were married in 2020, they have become a model of what a relationship can be when you love unapologetically,” Essence’s Deputy Editor Cori Murray said on Thursday statement. “We celebrate the Bettses as the first same-sex couple to make the cover of ESSENCE. Their union serves as evidence that true love can blossom in unexpected places if you’re brave enough to embrace it.”
In the cover story, the “Claws” star told Essence that gender was “the least” of her attraction to Betts, instead lauding her wife’s spirit.
“What I was and am still attracted to is Jessica’s soul,” Nash said. “She was the most beautiful soul I had ever met in my life. Now that I’ve experienced it, I can’t imagine going through life without it.”
On their communication style, Betts said Nash makes her feel “fully seen” and “all of me is loved,” including the parts she doesn’t “necessarily show to everyone else.”
@houseofhollywoodglam_ 💋 #NiecyNash #JessicaBetts Cover Essence! #couplegoals ♬ Hrs and Hrs – Muni Long
In a cover story titled “Sure Betts,” the couple also opens up about the public reaction to the famous marriage reveal.
Nash also noted that people were in utter disbelief when they revealed their famous marriage.
“A lot of people thought it was like a movie or some promo,” Niecy recalled. “They started calling everybody, and we were like, ‘This is insane.’ I never knew why where you lay your head is such a big deal to other people. I was like, ‘People care?’”
But The Bettses did not know their union would break the internet.
Nicey Nash, the 52–year-old mother three whose previous marriages include two men, also graced the September 2017 cover.
Other LGBTQs on the cover include Aisha, and Danielle Moodie-Mills were the first lesbian couple to have their wedding featured in Essence in 2010, and “Pose” star Billy Porter became the first openly gay man to grace the cover in 2020.
“At Essence, we believe that the Black woman is the CEO of her home and community and is not a monolith. We represent a spectrum of identities, experiences, and representations that collectively define all that we are.”ESSENCE CEO Caroline Wanga
We are proud to continue to spotlight and strengthen who we are, in as many ways as we can, in a way that equitably celebrates our global community, and we are proud to continue doing it.” said CEO Caroline Wanga. “ESSENCE looks forward to continuing to serve as the voice that represents all facets of its powerful community today and in the years to come.
The Bettses are nude and in an embrace on the March/April 2022 edition cover.