GQ celebrates “Modern Love”

MPHO RANTAO

GQ Magazine is celebrating a new age of love. 

The American magazine’s March edition spotlights the relationships of singer Ciara and NFL footballer Russell Wilson, Tennis champion Naomi Osaka and rapper Cordae, and sports power couple FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe and WNBA champion Sue Bird. 

Titled “Modern Love”, the March issue is “an exploration of the many forms and facets of love today.” 

“For the three print covers of this special project, we turned to three couples who are setting exciting examples for what love can look like in 2021 (and beyond).”

Each feature tells the romantic tale of each couple, how they fell in love and how they keep their flame of love alive. 

Fan favourite couple Ciara and Russell Wilson met in 2015 and married in 2016 before welcoming two children, in addition to Ciara’s first child from her relationship with rapper Future. They maintain that a lot of their success comes from their combined habit of loving to win, their children and their daily routines.

The couple’s relationship became an instant favourite and amassed support from fans who were familiar with Ciara’s previous (and very public) relationship, and who were admirable of Russell’s acts of love to the pop princess. 

“We’re just grateful that we get to spend time together every day,” Wilson told the magazine. “Every morning we wake up together it’s a blessing, and we get to smile from ear to ear and know that ‘You know what? Let’s go. Let’s go do this.’ ”

“I feel like, if I could look back in a crystal ball when I was a little girl,” Ciara added, “and I looked at the idea of my family and what it would be for me, it’s exactly this.”

The Wilsosns cover for GQ. Picture: Twitter/GQMagazine

For sports couple Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, their love story is what they would call simple – merely enjoying being gay and in love while leading successuful lives as champion athletes.

Their story starts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and travels back to the USA, where they make their marks as invaluable players to their respective sports teams while revelling in the growing love that they have for each other which Rapinoe decided to seal with a union through an impromptu proposal by the former in 2020, in the caribbean island of Antigua. 

Photographed together by director Sam Taylor-Johnson, the couple see themselves as each other’s champion whether it be on their respectful sports grounds, involving themselves in activism, or being role models to the current and future generation.  

Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird. Picture: Twitter/GQMagazine

The last couple covered are young couple Naomi Osaka and Cordae (both aged 23). The world is quite familiar with tennis champion Osaka and her successful campaigns on (and off) the courts, and being named the highest-paid female athlete. 

Her rapper boyfriend Cordae, is more known in the music industry for his sharp bars and catchy features, something which has garnered him numerous awards and nominations from the Grammys, BET Awards and BET Hip Hop Awards. 

“We were dating for almost a year before people knew about us. So we kind of move very reclusively. We don’t really post intimate moments, because I feel as though they’re sacred”, Cordae said. “A relationship is really a sacred thing. Once you let outside influences get into it, it becomes less sacred.”

Cordae and Naomi Osaka. Picture: Twitter/GQMagazine

Having been together for two years, the couple spoke to GQ’s Mark Anthony Green about how they found their activism for Black Lives Matter almost instinctual, becoming inspirations to the young generation  who have also become heavily involved in the fight against systemic racism and police brutality. 

Osaka also mentions her mentorship from Kobe Bryant (who she saw as an uncle figure), her relaxed persona and current fashion campaigns with Louis Vuitton and Nike, while Cordae relives his first-ever tennis match – which was Osaka’s final at the 2020 U.S. Open, and speaks about his career as “hip-hop’s next great MC.”, as dubbed by The L.A. Times newspaper. 

“I would say he was like the older brother/uncle that I wish I always had. He was someone that, no matter how busy he was, for some reason he always picked up the phone when I called him,” Osaka said about late NBA champion Bryant.

As one reads on, they get to understand that despite everything that the black couple are known for, Naomi Osaka and Cordae really are just young adults trying to make their relationship work in a crazy time of a pandemic, technology and activism. 

Each couple displays their own way of making love work, which in its own way is worth celebrating along with the evolving knowledge that every form of love is different, it is no longer what we read in women’s magazines or what they’re told by society. 

The love displayed by the three couples for GQ is a simple glimpse at how love is beautiful, how it is not binary and how it really has the power to change the world. 



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