By KIMBERLY SEALS ALLERS
Yesterday, I cried watching the Michael Jackson memorial. I cried for a little black boy who felt the world didn't understand him. I cried for a little black boy who spent his adulthood chasing his childhood. And I thought about all the young black boys out there who may too feel that the world doesn't understand them. The ones who feel that the world does not understand their baggy jeans, their swagger, their music, their anger, their struggles, their fears or the chip on their shoulder. I worry that my son, may too, one day will feel lonely in a wide, wide world.
I cried for the young children of all colors who may live their lives feeling like misfits, 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 a child. Period. And I think about all the pain, tears and sleepless nights that she must have endured seeing her baby boy in inner pain, seeing him struggle with his self-esteem, and his insecurities and to know he often felt unloved even while the world loved him deeply. How does it feel to think that the unconditional love we give as mothers just isn't enough to make our children feel whole? I wonder if she still suffers thinking, What more could I have done? Even moms of music legends aren't immune to mommy guilt, I suppose.
When Rev. Al Sharpton (who always delivers one hell of a funeral speech) said to Michael's children, Your daddy was not strangeIt was strange what your Daddy had to deal with, I thought of all the strange things of the world that my children will have to deal with. Better yet, the things I hope they won't ever have to deal with anymore.
And as a mother raising a young black boy, I feel recommitted and yet a little confused as to how to make sure my son is sure enough within himself to take on the world. Especially a “strange” one. To love himself enough to know that even when the world doesn't understand you, tries to force you into its mold or treats 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 brown little one. In a world, that makes children into booty-shaking, mini-adults long before their time, I'm reclaiming the playful, innocent, run-around-outside, childhood as the key ingredient in raising confident adults. Second, I will not rest until my little black boy, MY Michael, knows that his broad nose is beautiful, his chocolately brown skin is beautiful, and his thick hair is beautiful.
And nothing or no one can ever take that away from him.
“Now ain’t we bad? And ain’t we black? And ain’t we fine? Maya Angelou
About our MyBrownBaby contributor:
Kimberly Seals Allers is author of The Mocha Manual series of books and editor in chief of MochaManual.com, where this post originated. The latest in her three-book series, The Mocha Manual to Military Life: A Savvy Guide for Wives, Girlfriends, and Female Service Members, was released last month. Kimberly lives in Long Island, New York with her daughter and son.
I have been so moved by what I have learned from your blog that I blogged about you!
~Blessings to all of you.
very well done.
(((clap, clap, clap))))
Say it loud! I just want to copy and paste this post on every blog that has a said something snarky or downright mean about the life and passing of MJ.
Thank you Denene. I always find your words so focused and inspiring. This lovely man was treated unfairly in many ways, but he made such a difference here on earth all we can do now is be so thankful for his blessed life.
Spoken like the wonderfully intelligent, beautiful black woman you are. I'm in deep mourning right now. I'm going to miss seeing him terrible. It was a serious event when a new Michael Jackson video premiered in my family. We were all joined together in front of the television. So I'm tired of my tears and I've given myself something to look forward too:
1. His never seen videos I know somebody is going to put out.
2. His never heard songs.
3. Teaching my 18 month old son, all about his Uncle, Michael Joseph Jackson.
Amazing post, I see why YOU are a writer! I cried along with you and the world. I was never a big Rev Sharpton fan but he blew me away with what he said. I know Michael is now getting the sleep and peace he so desired.
This is wonderfully written and very wise.
I just stopped by to say hullo…found your blog sometime ago.