Love is in the air in Chicago. It’s Valentine’s Day, a time when many go the extra mile to love up on their romantic partners, platonic friends, and family with gifts, words of affirmation, and acts of service. 

This Valentine’s Day, the TRiiBE wants to uplift Black love. We interviewed three recently engaged Chicago couples to highlight their love stories. We asked about their engagement stories and how they’ve managed to stay together during the shelter-in-place mandates, quarantines, and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

MEET COREY & IVY: A full-circle love story

In the summer of 2015, Ivy Moffett, then 28, was headed to former South Loop nightclub, The Shrine. The New Orleans native was out with a friend to see her favorite artist Wale perform. The Shrine, which permanently closed in 2016, was located just a block away from where Moffett lived at the time. 

She had no idea that she’d meet her future husband Corey Williams, 29, working the nightclub door that night. 

Ivy and her friend had arrived a little too early at the club, and they were hungry. So, Ivy walked up to Corey and asked if they could leave to grab a snack, and if he would let them back into the club.

Photo courtesy of Ivy Moffett and Corey Williams.

“He was like: ‘I guess, OK.’ He was looking at me super odd,” Ivy explained during a call with the TRiiBE on Feb. 11. 

“She grown as hell. Who leaves the club trying to get a snack?” Corey asked. “That’s not normal.”

Unknowingly, Ivy made an impression on Corey that night, she said. She and her friend left for food, and Corey — still at the door — let them back inside. Later that evening, he found her, and they started talking and exchanged numbers. They dated for three to four months and have been a couple since November 2015. Now both 35 years old, the couple lives together in the South Loop. 

They would attend other Wale concerts throughout their relationship. For their engagement, a full-circle moment happened for the couple of six years.  

Corey was planning to propose in late 2021 and found himself looking for inspiration. He found it in the engagement story of Ivy’s parents. At a Jackson 5 concert in Louisiana back in 1979, Ivy’s father proposed to her mother. 

In January 2022, Wale was scheduled to be in Chicago for his Under a Blue Moon Tour at the House of Blues. Ivy had already purchased tickets.

That’s when the idea came to Corey to propose at the Wale concert. He wanted to pay homage to his future father-in-law but wanted to put his own spin on it by proposing to Ivy on stage surrounded by their friends and family during the concert. 

“I’ve always wanted to curate like this 90s love story type vibe. I wanted to surprise her; I wanted it to be more than just [proposing in the crowd]. Like, that’s not me putting up enough effort. I felt like that was too easy. It was just me thinking, like, I’m just gonna have Wale do it.” 

Corey knew he was two degrees of separation from Wale. One of his friends was close to Wale. So Corey made some calls during the 2021 holiday season, and Wale agreed to the on-stage proposal.

Armed with backstage passes, Corey proposed to Ivy at the House of Blues on Jan. 31. Ivy said yes. Their engagement video went viral on social media. The video has over 12,000 views on Corey’s Instagram page. 

Several news articles have also been written about their engagement from news publications like Rolling Out, Blavity, and Hip Hop DX.

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity).

What was your first impression of one another?

Corey: I thought she was fine. That was just off the first take, but I knew something was different from the first meeting with our conversation. It was something I wasn’t used to. I thought she was beautiful.

Ivy: I thought he was handsome. Looking back at it, do I think that we would have been here? I don’t know. You know I was just going to a club to see one of my favorite artists. So at the time, I thought he was handsome. But like, I didn’t know it was going to be something that transpired to this [becoming a couple and engaged].

Who said “I love you” first?

I: Definitely me. Cause I’m the super emotional one. I said, “I love you,” probably a year in. He just was perfect. This was the first time I felt like I was dating a friend. He was a friend before anything. We just connected well from the beginning. So I thought it was just a genuine connection, and I just felt like I was in love with him.  

What do you love about Ivy?

C: Her patience. She has a lot of patience with me. She doesn’t force a lot of things on me. If it’s forced, it’s in her own way, but it’s out of love and growth. Her strength and knowing who she is as a woman. She has a beautiful spirit and a beautiful heart. That southern hospitality and the way she loves me. It stands out amongst any and everything. 

Corey proposed to Ivy at a Wale concert in Chicago in January 2022. Photo by @zaypremestudios.

What do you love about Corey?

I: I’m dating my best friend and now engaged to my best friend. The way he handles me, it’s a different demeanor sometimes. I don’t even know how to explain it. The way he loves me is just very different, and I feel that especially compared to other relationships that I’ve been in. I feel safe. I feel protected. I feel loved.

How have you all been able to maintain your relationship during this time? Has there been any challenges, and what have you learned about yourselves and each other within this time that you believe might be helpful for other couples?

C: I would say that when you [are in a relationship], and it’s coming from a genuine place, everything’s just gonna flow. It’s going to be energy from God that just allows things to come together. It’s something that I just can’t even describe. So just be yourself, don’t force it, and just let things flow. The relationship will tell you where to go if you listen to it. 

I: I’ve had those voices around me as it relates to things like getting engaged, getting married, having children and other stuff. But I think the pandemic allowed for the noise to kind of be cut off and for me to focus on myself. Separately he focused on himself but also we focused on each other as a whole. Honestly, it gave us the opportunity to grow independently and grow together. Regardless of if the engagement occurred or not, I did not necessarily have that pressure that I felt like I was putting on myself. I knew I was with my person.

Any plans for Valentine’s Day?

I: Corey has to go out of town for work, and given that he did such a spectacular proposal, I’ll be the one that’s planning Valentine’s Day. It’s going to center around food because we’re foodies, but I’m still in the planning stages of it.  

The couple is planning to get married in early 2023. They are considering a wedding in Ivy’s hometown or a destination wedding.

is a multimedia producer for The TRiiBE.