Reflections From a New Mom: Prayers For My African American Son

I. Am. Exhausted.

During the past few weeks I have spent a lot of time in my head processing my thoughts. Sometimes I am silent because my mind is racing, there are so many thoughts that I often don’t know where to start when I want to express them. I try to make sense of them all, but that just leads to me feeling tired. So overall, I am exhausted.

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I am angry, sad, fearful, devastated, frustrated, hurt, heart broken, numb, and void of emotion all in one. I remember one day last week I was sitting with my thoughts and I just wanted to cry. Suddenly, I just felt like crying. I did not know why, no tears fell, but a sweeping feeling of all the emotions overcame me, and I just knew that it was time to cry. Black Americans are hurting, so I am hurting.

Black Americans are hurting for justice and equality in our nation. In 2020, we are still fighting the same fights of our ancestors. In 2020 we are fighting for the right to live in peace, to not die at the hands of racist on the streets, for and end to police brutality, and to have equality in our justice system. IT. IS. 2020. As I watched the many protests around the country and the world, I was delighted to see that all people, not just Black people joined in the fight. Finally our voices are being heard, there is diversity in our cause. We are starting to matter. But again, it is the year 2020, why should we have to march and sing “We Shall Overcome” like our ancestors did in the 1960’s. Has America not made significant progress since the death of Martin Luther King Jr.? Why are we still fighting to live his dream? When will America finally stand for the words “Liberty and Justice for all”?

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The overwhelm of emotions hits me every time I hear about the death of every unarmed Black American. Sadness, anger, and overwhelm were in full force when I watched the video of the murder of Amahd Aubery and, how there was not even an arrest made over two months later! Then we heard about Breonna Taylor, again no arrest, then we watched the death of George Floyd. After a 5 days and filling the streets with protesters demanding justice, finally there was an arrest. Who is next? This is too much for the year 2020. When does it end?

We have been watching videos of the murder of Black kids and adults for years. Before the videos they were killing us, there was just no one filming it. So the concept of murder and injustice toward Black Americans did not start in 2020.

However, today my life is different, therefore, my emotions are different. The hurt feels different, it is real. Today I am a wife to Black man, and a mother to a little Black boy, this feeling is hitting a little bit differently. That is the feeling I am constantly processing.

Today my life is no longer just me taking care of me in the world. I have a husband and a son who I don’t want to be added to the names of unarmed black men who were killed, while their murderer just walks away and eats a sandwich. It is an unexplainable worry that I try not to spend too much time on because life’s moments are precious and I want to enjoy every moment. Life is meant to be lived with joy. Yet, sometimes the feeling of worry overshadows that joy and there is a moment of wanting to cry because you feel the pain of every wife, and mother who has unjustly lost her husband or son and you want to go around and give them all a big hug. So I just pray. I ask God to protect my boys, because that is all that is left to do.

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This evening Nico and I went on a walk. He just sits in his stroller quietly looking around, listening to the birds, staring at the trees, the cars, and the people, and taking it all in. He feels safe, he is not worried about anything. He does not know about racism, or that one day some people will fear him because of the color of his skin. He knows he is with mommy, and with mommy he is protected. The world is safe with mommy, no danger allowed. I thought, now if only I could keep him this small forever. At 8 months I can protect him from harm, but what about when he is 13 or 18, will the world be kind to him? Will he still feel safe?

Again, I am left with saying a special prayer for his safety.

Yet, during moments like this my mind always goes back to the death of Tamir Rice. I didn’t have kids at the time of his death, but for some reason his death hits me especially hard. I was in pure shock and disbelief when I heard of the cops who pulled up and shooting at a 12 year old boy in a matter of seconds. For a very long time I refused to watch that video, I refused to watch the murder of a baby at the hands of the police. He was a baby! Eventually I watched the video, it was worse than I ever imagined. They said they thought he was an adult. He was a 12 year old black boy. He should have had the chance to grow into an adult. The men who killed him are now free. Where is justice?

I know I have only been a mother for a few months, but I feel like my number one goal is to keep my baby safe. I feel like God has given us our biggest life challenge yet. God said now I give you the job of being parents, and now is the time to raise a strong Black man in America. Keep him safe, let him grow, and know he will be a force that changes the world. Since God never gives us more than we can bear, we have accepted the challenge with full gratitude. But, for real it is scary sometimes. When Nico is 5 he will be my baby. When he is 12 he will still be my baby. When he is 18 he will still be my baby. Heck, when he is 45 he will be my baby. I just pray that the world will see him for the boy, and man that he will be and give him an opportunity to grow and change the world.

My heart hurts for Tamir Rice, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Amahad Aubery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Sean Bell and every other black life that was lost due to police violence or racist violence because they felt that these lives did not matter. BLACK LIVES MATTER

This list was posted on on June 10, 2020.

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New Black television shows: What is the formula for making them better?

     The Game has returned to BET for season 5. Last week started a whole new season, with whole new episodes of The Game. If you have no idea what The Game is, check out the link. If you have ever been a watcher of The Game, continue to follow me. Are you watching this season of The Game? How do you like it? Does it make you want to turn off your TV and wished it had remained in the cancellation abyss when it was canned from the CW network? Yeah I thought so.

I used to be huge fan of The Game in its original seasons. I would watch it religiously, even with the many random day and time changes, I would do my best to follow the show whenever it was on. Like many other Game fans, I was sad to see it come to an end. I felt a perfectly great show was removed from television for no apparent reason. Each of the characters felt genuine, and the story line was such that it made the whole concept exciting from week to week.  Then suddenly poof! It was over.  Only for 2 years later to be brought back to life on BET. But is the Resurrection of The Game really a good thing, or should it just have stayed a distant memory of a good show that was prematurely cancelled?

The Game had a lot of fans, those fans screamed, yelled, and petitioned for a great show to be brought back to TV. BET heard the cries and  picked up the game. However, fans wanted a show that was once great to be brought back to TV. Fans did not request a show that has the same name, and most of the same actors, but its come back is as horrible as ever. The memory of a great show, has turned into watching a sad TV show, substance free, just actors and words.  The original realness is gone. The attraction of seasons 1-3 that brought the show to a dramatic climax has been lost at BET. To see The Game on BET is as if  someone said;  they want a show, give them a show, any show, it doesn’t even have to be a good show, but people will watch because this is the show they wanted.

Is that fair to the viewers who have supported The Game for so long, starting from season 1? No of course not.

Sadly that message seems to apply as the overlying theme in all shows targeted towards African-American audiences lately. The connotation of give them a show, any show, and they will watch unfortunately is not just specific to The Game. BET has another sitcom that comes on after The Game, Let’s Stay Together, yeah that show doesn’t have much appeal either. What is it with new age African-American television shows that make them appear unrealistic, over the top, and basically straight boring?

I remember when I couldn’t wait to watch The Cosby Show, A Different World, or Girlfriends. These shows had my attention from start to finish, they were shows of quality. You can tell these shows were a product of time, energy, and a well executed script.  Best of all, these shows attracted viewers of every racial group. Those shows weren’t specifically made for African-American audiences, they had the ability to cross color lines in the television world.

I recently watched an episode of Tyler’s Perry’s sitcom For Better or Worse, again I was disappointed in the portrayal of African-Americans on TV. The over the top, overly dramatic antics will never make good television. It just makes the show hard to sit through for more than five minutes. Although I had long been over Tyler Perry’s sitcoms for some time, I thought I would give his new one a chance. Without supporters shows get cancelled right? After wasting precious time of life watching, I can just say that I would be very understanding if that show did get canceled. Despite my opinion, Tyler Perry continues to attract a wide audience, and his show did do considerably well despite its poor story lines. So even if I am not watching, I know someone is watching.

Yet, there is a point where it is quite disturbing where the only representation of African-Americans on television comes in the form of poorly formulated sitcoms, or overly hostile women on Reality TV shows . Shouldn’t we be at a place where the media views us in a better light, and gives us the respect of at least  incorporating more minority characters into basic network television. It is great that BET, TV One, and TBS offer a platform to cast the talents of African-Americans on television, but if a show is created don’t we owe it to ourselves and our culture to at least demand,  and have expectations for a quality show that can work with any audience.  It may be time to abandon the I’ll take a show, any show, as long as Black people are in it mentality, and say I’ll take one great show. At least then we can watch it for the quality of the show, and not just because the entire cast happens to come from the same racial group as me.

Positive thoughts, Positive energy, Positive experiences.