Love in the era of social media has made it possible for your ordinary couples to display their relationships on large-scale platforms, giving the world a glimpse into their everyday lives.
YouTube, in recent years, has become the number one hotspot for most couples to make a name for themselves online, but millennial married couple Khadeen and Devale Ellis changed the game when they used their public displays of affection to redefine how a relationship can be the foundation for creating a legacy.
As the building blocks for what can now be considered their growing digital dynasty, The Ellises are showing the world how Black love has been the key to them becoming role models for what marriage should look like today.
Before they became TV and YouTube stars, The Ellises began their loving journey into the digital space with an idea to use their marriage and family to dispel stereotypes about Black people and how we’re perceived to the public.
“I said to Khadeen at that time, I really wanted to have my own sitcom. I wanted to show a Black family, a Black millennial family, in a different light,” Devale shared.
“I was tired of waiting for people to give us an opportunity. We had gotten phone calls from people to be in the reality TV space, but Khadeen and I both had agreed a long time ago that that’s something that we didn’t want to do,” he added. “We really wanted to shy away from the reality space, so what I told her was, ‘I’m going to create our own sitcom through Instagram.'”
The Ellises then came up with a plan to record these daily Instagram videos highlighting their everyday life as a married couple while documenting their love for their kids as well.
The idea was something new for Khadeen to process, but was onboard once she realized how it could open doors for her family in the long run.
“All I thought about was just privacy and not wanting to put too much out there, and just really didn’t have a clear vision as to where it could have gone,” Khadeen revealed to us. “But then Devale told me that it really was going to benefit us because we have total control over our content and we really had the say in what we [chose] to share. We can tell our story ourselves.”
They managed to achieve this by gaining a large following via their YouTube channel — now with 283,000 subscribers — and respective Instagram profiles.
Since their time starring on OWN’s “Black Love,” The Ellises have been quickly taking over the digital media and entertainment spaces with their own podcast and budding acting careers.
Their Webby award-winning podcast — Dead Ass with Khadeen & Devale — has now grown to be a staple in their digital empire where they regularly touch on topics relevant to millennial marriages.
The idea was first introduced to them by their manager — who’s been integral in helping the couple navigate different avenues in the media landscape — smartly advised them to explore the opportunity as a way to amplify their platforms.
“I knew nothing about podcasting. I knew nothing at all,” Devale shared. “And then our manager was like, ‘Listen, there’s a place in the digital space for you to utilize your voice because you and Khadeen have opinions on a lot of things. You [both] can have more highbrow conversation if you go the podcast route because it eliminates the skin deep, shallow aspect of watching someone on Instagram.'”
The move not only gave The Ellises a new venture to conquer, but another lane to showcase their love for one another while speaking directly to their core audience. Moreover, it introduced even more opportunities for them to establish themselves as growing media mavens.
In terms of utilizing their platforms to showcase Black Love, the phrase was something new The Ellises had only begun to reflect on near the beginning of their digital journey.
“On OWN, we were called to participate in [‘Black Love’] a while back with Codie Oliver and that’s kind of where the idea came from,” Khadeen shared. “It was one of those concepts that I hadn’t really given much thought to prior to, because I’m just like, ‘Well, I have a Black mom and dad who love each other and my husband’s Black and I love him and so did his parents.'”
“It was one of those things that I always grew up in and I always felt, and I always experienced it. But in talking to Codie and asking her why she even decided to start the show, she said that it was just something that was never in mainstream media. There was a normalcy to Black love that was missing in media, television and film and just in day-to-day life. So that absence of the normalcy sparked her putting together this show.”
Their appearance on the show further fueled the idea of them being relationship goals, but what people see on the outside isn’t nearly as important as the truth The Ellises aim to speak on — the realities of what marriage looks like, the good and the bad.
“Having been kind of one of the poster children for Black love, people are really invested in us and our journey,” said Khadeen. “And we don’t take that lightly.”
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Now The Ellises are focusing on using their journey and ever-expanding digital empire to inspire and empower others to own everything they create.
“I want to inspire people to own, and that’s not just property, not just content, not just businesses, but land. Own as much as you can because we built this land and we deserve our piece,” said Devale.
“I think it’s important for Devale and I to continue to work together and love each other through it,” Khadeen added. “There’s so much that we can do together as a Black man and a Black woman, raising these children and building the generational wealth that we want for our children. We want to be able to inspire people to say, ‘You know what? This is something that we can do as well. It’s tangible.'”
In addition to their YouTube channel, brand partnerships, and podcast, The Ellises also recently released a book called, “The Ellises & The Time Machine: Why Do We Have to Say ‘Black Lives Matter?'” — now available to order.
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To keep up with The Ellises, subscribe to their YouTube channel and follow them both on Instagram.