One day in March 2021, Chloe Dulce Louvouezo was on her way to a coffee shop to tackle a creative exercise in “The Artist’s Way” workbook before meeting a friend for lunch.
“Do you like vinyl?” asked Nasir Cedell Qadree as he walked up to her in the Union Market district of Northeast Washington, trying to plug Byrdland Records, a nearby vinyl shop where he spent Saturday afternoons spinning funk, soul, boogie, disco and house music.
Mr. Qadree, 38, primarily works as a managing partner of Zeal Capital Partners, a venture capital firm he founded, which focuses on investing in diverse management teams.
“I do,” she said. “Why do you ask?”
He was encouraged by her more-than-one-word reply.
“I’m spinning vinyl at 2 p.m.,” he said. “You should come by.”
They then locked eyes, took off their Covid masks and smiled.
Ms. Louvouezo, 37, a single mother whose son Myel, now 7, was away for the weekend, quickly called her friend. They decided to reconnoiter at Byrdland before lunch.
“We only spent 10 minutes digging through vinyl crates,” Ms. Louvouezo said. As they passed by his D.J. booth on the way out, Mr. Qadree reached over to hand her his card.
He later picked up margaritas to go at Taqueria Las Gemelas, which happened to be where Ms. Louvouezo and her friend were having lunch. She then got his name off the card, and called him over. They chatted for 15 minutes.
“It was nice to meet you,” she texted right after he left.
At 7:02 a.m. the next day, he replied asking if she wanted to grab some coffee that morning.
“I didn’t want to seem eager,” she said. “I forced myself to count to 60 a couple of times.”
They met at a Le Pain Quotidien later that morning on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Qadree was surprised they had never met before. “We’re name-dropping friends,” he said. “We spent time in New York. We’re both creatives in our own right. We’re also college rivals.”
Mr. Qadree, who grew up in Atlanta, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Hampton University in Hampton, Va., and she with a bachelor’s in journalism from Howard University.
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Ms. Louvouezo, who grew up in Niger, West Africa, also received a master of professional studies in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown. She is now a senior creative producer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and also wrote “Life, I Swear: Intimate Stories from Black Women on Identity, Healing and Self-Trust,” part memoir, part anthology, published by HarperCollins in November 2021.
Their first date lasted 24 hours.
“It was clear we were into each other,” Mr. Qadree said.
They stopped for pizza in the Center City area, and when he mentioned he did not have the right backdrop for his 5 a.m. financial segment on CNBC the next morning, she told him she had actually rented out her place to production companies. He asked if he could check it out and found it more than suitable. “Her décor is amazing,” he said.
As she later adjusted his laptop on a tripod, she sat on his lap to get a better angle, which also happened to be just the right angle for their first kiss.
“I don’t want crazy love,” she said. “I want peaceful love. I want safe love. I want secure love.”
“OK,” he said, and sealed it with another kiss.
The next afternoon, when Ms. Louvouezo took her son for ice cream before his weekly swim lesson in the Navy Yard area, they bumped into Mr. Qadree, who lived nearby and picked up a couple of smoothies.
“Do you work here?” her son asked Mr. Qadree. “Maybe we could do a play date.”
A few hours later the three had dinner at an Italian restaurant where her son fell asleep on her lap.
“He was a smart ambitious kid that reminded me of myself in a single family household,” Mr. Qadree said.
They began seeing each other every day, and Mr. Qadree was a big hit when he showed up as Spiderman for Myel’s 5th birthday in May.
“I knew he was here to stay,” Ms. Louvouezo said.
That summer Mr. Qadree joined her for three weddings, moved in with them in August and that fall accompanied her on a seven-city book tour. He stood by her as she spoke about past heartbreaks, healing, grieving, starting over and second chances.
In 2022, during Memorial Day weekend, they celebrated Myel’s 6th birthday with a three-day trip to Disney World in Orlando, and on the last day, Mr. Qadree proposed along a beach.
On July 1, the Rev. Dr. A. Craig Dunn, a Baptist minister and the groom’s godfather, officiated before 150 guests at Woodend Sanctuary & Mansion in Chevy Chase, Md., where the couple jumped the broom, and then led everyone in the rain to the festivities, M.C.’d by DJ Epik.
“My son started the toasts with an epic speech,” said Ms. Louvouezo, who is taking the groom’s name; the couple are taking her surname as a second middle name. And then there’s the other way Mr. Qadree refers to her: “My better three-quarters.”