When Roni and Caleb first met, it was in the college cafeteria at the University of California, Riverside. While Caleb tried to put on his “college boy charm” in order to buy a few dining dollars from Roni who was a freshman, with plenty of dining chips, she was able to offer him a firm no because a girl has to eat. Recognizing that she was not the girl that could easily be persuaded, Caleb gave up on the pursuance of a few meals and decided to discuss with Roni the most important election in American history: the chance to vote in the first African-American president.
After 7 years of dating it was clear to Caleb that Roni was the woman that he wanted to be with for the rest of his life. “I remember the specific moment when I decided Roni was “The One” I wanted to marry. It was one night while I was at home in New York and Roni was visiting her family in Los Angeles. After many attempts, I could not fall asleep. My mind just kept racing and she was all I could think about. I realized that she was the one I wanted to go to sleep and wake up next to for the rest of my life. I couldn’t live without her.”
For Roni, she was certain that after spending so much time together, that he was the one that helped her become the better version of herself. “He’s the true definition of a life partner who is here to build with me. We all know this world can be incredibly harsh and people can be cruel at times, but Caleb has become my safe place throughout it all,” she shares. “He’s one of the blessings God has given me to remind me of how real He is. I know that through the good and the bad, I can always count on him for a laugh, an embrace, an encouraging word, a sweet kiss, or a much-needed reality check.”
Although their relationship was like a roller-coaster ride in their youth, neither one of them wanted to get off. “We played a lot of games and did the on and off thing, but once we matured, we realized how serious we are about each other and it’s been an amazing journey ever since,” Roni explains. So, in June of 2017, the two loving spirits decided to jump the broom in Cabo an Lucas, Mexico.
Now that they newlywed feeling is in the right place, the couple got right to business by planning their future, and one of those future plans was to become partners in the art of producing. The couple created an Emmy nominated web series titled Tough Love.
Tough Love is a digital series about progressive Black Millennials in New York City working to overcome obstacles along their career paths, while trying to get a grasp on their tumultuous love lives. It shows the daily journey of various characters who are somewhat broken and are doing their best to self-heal. We look at the lives of single cold-hearted men and women who are failing to let go of the past, while also exploring the lives of those who are open to love but still have yet to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right.
According to Roni, she wrote Tough Love because she felt there was a shortage of content about real Black love being showcased. “I longed for the days where we were able to watch movies and shows like Love Jones, Love & Basketball, The Best Man, Girlfriends, A Different World, etc. I felt we needed to see more relatable stories about Black relationships, specifically in the millennial world, so we decided to make it happen.”
She thought it was necessary to create a show like Tough Love because it was important to see Black people on screen in various ways. “Reality shows can be funny and cool, but it’s also important for us to see well thought out, developed characters that we can truly connect with. Tough Love has successful Black millennials in the corporate world, some who are struggling entrepreneurs, some who were recently incarcerated, some broken, some on top of their game, the list goes on. We are all different, but all very similar, and I don’t think we have enough of these images out there so it was important for us to create the change we wanted to see.”
It is clear after watching Tough Love, that there is a reason that it was nominated for an Emmy, but we wanted to know if it was at all based on the Caleb and Roni’s relationship. “There are several elements in Tough Love that are inspired by our relationship. We are in some ways similar to Alicia and Quincy, since we met in college and did have a rocky start. However, there story has gone in a direction that ours never went in, thankfully,” Roni laughs. “We’ve also been Monica and Jason before—moving in together and going through the growing pains of trying to live with a significant other. We honestly have a little of us in every character. We take direct inspiration from our relationship, as well as the relationships of our friends and family.”
It is not always easy to work with your mate but for the Davis’, it has been an amazing experience. “It can be a struggle at times, but we’ve learned a lot about each other and gotten better at it over the years,” says Caleb. “When we first started filming Tough Love, we had several disagreements on set and often debated in front of the actors. It was something we weren’t proud of, but we learned from our mistakes and worked on improving each season. We also learned not to step on each other’s toes and to compromise as much as possible.”
“We now handle disagreements on set by pulling each other to the side and really discussing the issue. We both keep what’s best for the show at the forefront, and in the end, we realize we have to give and take. There’s a lot of compromise that comes into play. ‘Okay we can cut this line out, but there’s no way we’re cutting this one’,” Roni shares.
When we asked the loving newlyweds what advice they would offer to a couple that wanted to also jump the broom, Roni had this to offer: “Enjoy the journey. You will experience lots of lows together, but being able to experience the highs with the person you care about most is an incomparable experience. The three ingredients that are important to a loving couple is communication, love and compromise.”
The future is very bright for this dynamic duo. They just released the third season of Tough Love and they are have a few more scripted shows to share with the world. “We can’t wait to employ more Black people and tell more of our stories.”
Be sure to check out the three seasons of Tough Love, starting here: