Their Sunday Ritual Kept Them Connected

Mr. Cannon, 37, said he knew early on that Ms. James, 30, “was someone I could see myself with.” On Nov. 7, which they consider their anniversary, he sent Ms. James a text asking her to be his girlfriend after leaving her apartment. She didn’t answer.

The couple at the Afropunk Festival in 2016.Credit…Kevin Harry

“I let him sweat a little,” said Ms. James, who wanted him to ask in person. “I felt a little weird about it,” said Mr. Cannon with a laugh. He was nervous but was confident in their connection. They became official — in person — later that day.

In 2017, they moved in together on the Lower East Side. Each Sunday, they took long walks or bike rides, explored art galleries, or tried a new restaurant, a tradition they would maintain in the years following.

In 2016, Ms. James’s workload increased as a newly hired advertising sales associate at Condé Nast. By 2018, she was promoted to marketing manager. Mr. Cannon continued to focus on his art while working in retail. Over the next few years, the couple said their professional ambitions created some distance. “We weren’t the same as we were the previous years,” Mr. Cannon said, so they relied “on those Sundays to stay connected.”

Ms. James, who grew up in Washington, D.C., is the corporate strategy and strategic partnerships director at Condé Nast. She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising and marketing communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Mr. Cannon, who is from Racine, Wis., moved to New York in 2009 to pursue art.

When the pandemic halted work at his retail job, Mr. Cannon began exploring more opportunities in the art world. At night, he turned the living room in their cramped apartment into his art studio. That work became part of a group exhibition called “A Gathering,” held in April 2021 at the now-closed Housing gallery on the Lower East Side.

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