Go and hug your “Michael” by Maya Angelou…
Yesterday I cried watching the Michael Jackson memorial. I cried for a littleblack boy who felt the world didn’t understand him. I cried for a little blackboy who spent his adulthood chasing his childhood. And I thought about all theyoung black boys out there who may too feel that the world doesn’t understandthem. The ones who feel that the world does not understand their baggy jeans,their swagger, their music, their anger, their struggles, their fears or thechip on their shoulder. I worry that my son, may too, one day will feel lonelyin a wide, wide world.
I cried for the young children of all colors who may live their life feelinglike a misfit, feeling like no one understands their perspective, or their soul.What a burden to carry.
As a mother, I cried for Katherine Jackson because no mother should ever bury achild. Period. And I think about all the pain, tears and sleepless nights thatshe must have endured seeing her baby boy in inner pain, seeing him strugglewith his self-esteem, and his insecurities and to know he often felt unlovedeven while the world loved him deeply. How does it feel to think that theunconditional love we give as mothers just isn’t enough to make our childrenfeel whole? I wonder if she still suffers thinking, “what more could I havedone?” Even moms of music legends aren’t immune to mommy guilt, I suppose.
When Rev. Al Sharpton (“who always delivers one” awesome “funeral speech”) saidto Michael’s children, “Your daddy was not strange…It was strange what yourDaddy had to deal with,” I thought of all the “strange” things of the world thatmy children will have to deal with. Better yet, the things I hope they won’tever have to deal with anymore.
And as a mother raising a young black boy, I feel recommitted and yet a littleconfused as to how to make sure my son is sure enough within himself to take onthe world. Especially a “strange” one. To love himself enough to know that evenwhen the world doesn’t understand you, tries to force you into its mold ortreats you unkindly, you are still beautiful, strong and Black. How do I do that?
Today, I am taking back “childhood” as an inalienable right for every brownlittle one. In a world, that makes children into booty-shaking, mini-adults longbefore their time, I’m reclaiming the playful, innocent, run-around-outside,childhood as the key ingredient in raising confident adults. Second, I will notrest until my little black boy, MY Michael, knows that his broad nose isbeautiful, his chocolately brown skin is beautiful, and his thick hair isbeautiful.
And nothing or no one can ever take that away from him.
“Now aint we bad? And ain’t we black? And ain’t we fine? —Maya Angelou