First same-sex Essence cover: Niecy Nash & Jessica Betts

niecy nash essence jessica betts
Images: Niecy Nash Instagram

The March issue of Essence, the monthly lifestyle magazine for African-American women will feature a same-sex couple on the cover for the first time. Actress and comedian Niecy Nash and country singer Jessica Betts talk about their two-year marriage in the issue.

Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts became friends in 2015 and started dating in January 2020. In August of that year, they eloped, announcing their marriage in a surprise Instagram post.

Neicy Nash said despite expecting some reaction, the size of the response surprised them.

“A lot of people thought it was like a movie or some promo. 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?'”

Jessica Betts said, “She was really shocked. I knew there was going to be some banter around it. But I didn’t know that it was literally going to break the Internet!”

No labels but queer joy

The two women told Essence they do not believe in labelling their sexuality.

Neicy Nash said, “The least of my attraction is gender. What I was and am still attracted to is Jessica’s soul. 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.”

The pair often share photos of themselves as a couple on social media. Jessica Beets said they had no agenda, except, perhaps, maybe…

“Agendas feel very forced. If there’s an agenda, it’s that we’re going to spread queer joy. The world needs it. Real talk.”

Niecy previously starred in four seasons of Claws and will appear in Netflix’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.


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