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Let's Stay Together

When it comes to black marriage and smooth R&B, Kindred has the answers.

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As Kindred, Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon have become the sirens of black marital togetherness. "We're just the voice for the voiceless," Fatin says.
  • As Kindred, Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon have become the sirens of black marital togetherness. "We're just the voice for the voiceless," Fatin says.

Kindred, aka Kindred the Family Soul, is a husband-and-wife R&B duo who have been married for 13 years. They've recorded four albums of positive, romantic soul together, and have emerged as the mainstream media's go-to couple for stories about black love and commitment.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Kindred (Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon) will lead a panel discussion and perform at the sixth annual Black Marriage Day event at the Trinity Family Life Center this week. The husband, Fatin, recently spoke with Style Weekly about Kindred's music, the art of matrimony and what it's like to be the unofficial spokesman and spokeswoman for married black America.

Style: Do you ever get tired of being the poster people for black folks who are married?

Fatin Dantzler: [Laughs] I wouldn't say we're the poster people for people who are married, or black people who are married, but I appreciate the sentiment and I understand where you're coming from. I don't think it's about getting tired of it. ... We don't feel that it's completely justified that maybe people seem to look at us like we're one of the only ones doing that. I think that there are lots of people in our community that are married and working it out. We're just the voice for the voiceless in the sense that those people don't get that spotlight shined on them.

Speaking of long-term relationships, what happened to your deal with the Hidden Beach label?

It ran its course. We were there for three albums, we got a wealth of experience. ... We figured in this day and time, where the music was, that it was time to try something [different] ... and move forward. And we did.

Tell me about your latest project.

The latest CD that we have out is called "Love Has No Recession." It's basically about a family adjusting and adapting to all the circumstances that we all find ourselves in, in the nation and across the world these days. We're just really grateful to have so many guests appear on the record [as wide-ranging as Chuck Brown and Snoop Dogg] as well as get our story out there again.

Last year Ralph Richard Banks wrote a book called, "Is Marriage for White People?" which sparked a lot of debate. He suggests that black women should consider looking outside of their race for suitable husbands.

I think that is a crock of bullshit. We need good black sisters and good black men to work with each other in order to build each other up. Yes, I do understand that there are a lot of guys out there not taking care of their business or not really willing to step into the relationship, or step and be the man they are supposed to be, but those are boys. Those are the people who are not ready, that should not be stepping into those positions because they know they're not ready.

But for those who are, those are the ones we should be discussing. Is marriage for white people? No, marriage is not for weak people. Marriage is for the strong. Marriage is for the people who are willing to sacrifice. Marriage is for people who are willing to do the work. If you're not willing to do the work, it doesn't matter if you're white, black, green, red or yellow. ... It doesn't matter. You have to be willing to step up to the plate. S

Kindred will perform at Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road on March 24 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. For information, go to blackmarriagedayrva.org.

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