Amari Ice knew from an early age that he was good at connecting people.
“My whole life I’ve been a connector. Even when I was younger at parties, I knew who to invite, who to sit next to each other, who would become really good friends,” he says to theGrio.
Ice, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Hearts,” is a Black relationship coach and matchmaker with a focus on connecting Black gay men. According to the Matchmaking Institute, Ice is the first Black gay certified matchmaker in the entire industry.
“That was a surprise to me,” Ice said. “I couldn’t wrap my mind around that there weren’t other relationship coaches that weren’t also certified as matchmakers in the Black community.”
This unique title led Ice to wear a crown as part of his “Prince of Hearts” persona. “I wear this as a reminder to not take love so seriously, to play, and to have a good time because we are always going to be the most engaged and fascinating when we are in that state of passionate play,” he says.
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The crown may be for show, but it comes with results as he utilizes his expertise in personality psychology, communication, and interpersonal relationships to help men find lasting results in love and life. Since launching his Amari Means Love enterprise he has helped more than 500 men achieve success in dating, love, and life.
“I have always been interested in people. I studied communication and psychology in school it seemed like the natural progression to get into this line of work,” says Ice.
Despite the pandemic, work has been growing for Ice. He says that 2020 was his best year to date and that singles have been eager to explore dating more. “Most of my clients thrived through the last year because we continued our relationship coaching,” he explains. His coaching philosophy helped him discover his 12-step relationships process that he outlined in his international best-seller, Lasting Love at Last: The Gay Guide to Attracting the Relationship of Your Dreams.
“Our culture conditions us to believe that love is suppose to be this magical thing that finds us, and while it’s definitely magical, it’s not a fairytale,” Ice says.
Fairytale or not, 2020 was one of the busiest times for dating apps, such as Tinder and Bumble, who reported a 19 to 26 percent increase in user experience on their apps. For example, Seattle resident Don Champion ( who was not coached by Ice) met his now-boyfriend Greg San Nicolas on Tinder in June of 2020.
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The two of them forged a relationship in the middle of the pandemic and the timing, according to the both, was something of destiny. “I remember my New Year’s Eve wish for 2020 was to meet a guy, then the world blew up and I was like, ‘Oh, awesome.’ Little did I know I’d meet my guy just a few months later,” says Champion.
“Having Don’s companionship during the pandemic has been great. I think it forced us to really get to know each other more deeply because we couldn’t do the usual date stuff like going to the movies or restaurants, etc. We went on hikes instead and ordered food at the house or cooked. It really helped us bond,” San Nicolas responded.
Champion and San Nicolas have managed to find love despite the challenges of the pandemic. Ice, for his part, has one piece of advice for singles who might be on the dating scene and wondering how to make it work: not taking it so seriously.
“Laughter is the thing that’s going to make everything work,” Ice says.
Kelsey Minor is a two time Emmy award-winning freelance writer based in New York City. You can find his work on Twitter @theKELSEYminor.
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