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Today I Cried for Lost Black Boys: Sadness for Michael

Today 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 life feeling like 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 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 strange…It 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 aint we bad? And ain’t we black? And ain’t we fine?" —Maya Angelou

Comments
5 Responses to “Today I Cried for Lost Black Boys: Sadness for Michael”
  1. elayne says:

    Hi there,

    A friend of mine received the text of the post above in an email which claimed it was a poem by Maya Angelou. As enthusiastically as I agree with your sentiments, it didn’t sound like Maya Angelou to me, so after a google search I find myself on your blog.

    I’m guessing that you are the author of this essay, and that the attribution on the very last line was mis-read by someone who assumed that Angelou wrote the entire thing. Can you confirm (or deny) that you are the author of this piece, so she/we can let people know who to credit for the thoughts?

    By the way, the conversation where this came up was here: http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=3&nav=messages&webtag=ab-urbanlegends&tid=9977 , an Urban Legends and Folklore discussion forum where we spend a lot of time tracking down the truth behind various internet rumors.

    Thanks so much!

  2. ShaSha says:

    Good afternoon: Please clarify the author of this piece bc it looks as if Maya Angleou has written it and not Ms. Seals. Thank you

    • Kimberly says:

      Hi ya ShaSha
      Only the last line where the quotes begin and end are from Maya Angelou. You can see that the rest of the post is very different. I think something got lost in all the forwarding and reposting. LOL! but I am certainly and proudly the author of the post.

  3. Norka says:

    Kimberly:

    Kudos on your prose. I’m glad you cleared that up because I also received the e-mail with the Maya Angelou byline, I was so touched by it that I wanted to use it during a PARENTS NIGHT presentation I have tomorrow night. I needed to give full credit to the author. However, as I writer I know how autorship often gets lost on the Internet. So I replied to the sender, which happened to be my sister who lives all the way in Panama. She replied that someone in Panama had forwarded it to her. Oh brother! But in a few hours my sister Dinorah e-mails me with your blog. She had found the author.

    I just want to say that I have no kids of my own, I am however a committed and passionate educator; so my children were not born from my womb they are born from my heart —and they are many. This piece spoke to me powerfully. It has served as my re-commitment to our children. I pray that it will heal many and that you may be greatly rewarded for creating this soothing salve for our people.

    Be blessed.

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  1. Active Parenting…

    There’s some real intelligence behind your post. I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks….



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