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My Top 13 Moments in Black Mom History

Recently, I was inspired to create a list. 

A list of powerful and moving moments, defining moments, times at which we all moved forward together. Moments that define, inspire and connect all of us as black mothers. Or maybe we just shared a laugh. Either way, please add to the list, and let's keep the great moments coming…

 # 13 Our Jackie O’: Coretta Scott King

I’ll never forget the classic picture of Coretta Scott King, sitting proudly at the funeral of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, with young Beatrice in her lap and a regal veil on her head. On that day and throughout her life, she epitomized the maternal strength and grace of a black mother that we should all aspire to.


# 12  Black Mama Muscle

Our momprenuer maven, Cathy Hughes showed real moxie going after her dreams. Hughes became a mom at 16 and was a college drop-out, but her son Alfred was her inspiration. Later, Hughes and her husband purchased one radio station in 1979, but soon after that her marriage ended, putting Cathy on the single mother path. At one point, Cathy lost her home and she and her son had to move into the station to make ends meet. But she was determined to build her vision. Today, Radio One,   run by Cathy and her son,  owns 65 radio stations throughout every major market in the country, making the company the largest black-owned radio chain in the nation and the first woman-owned radio station to rank #1 in any major market. After dominating radio, Hughes launched TV One, a cable television channel targeted at the African American community in 2004. All I can say is, you go girl!


 #11 Sing it!

In 1973, The Intruders’ popular song, I’ll Always Love My Mama becomes a national hit and ode to mamas everywhere. It later becomes the must-have song at every Black wedding when the groom dances with his mother.


#10 Brown Girl Rocks!

1972 Josie and the Pussycats features Valerie, the first African American female cast member in a regular Saturday morning cartoon. Black moms celebrate us starting to see images of ourselves and our little girls in the mainstream.

(FYI, before the cartoon went live, the original music producers went about creating a girls rock group that would actually sing the songs and record an album. True to the comic book, they found one Black member (Patrice Holloway) to play Valerie. When the music producers presented the newly formed band to the famed Hanna-Barbera powerhouse to finalize the production deal, Hanna-Barbera said they wanted to recast Patrice Holloway, because they had decided to portray "Josie and the Pussycats" as an all-white trio and had altered Valerie, who was black in the comic book, to make her white.  The producer, Danny Janssen, refused to recast Holloway and threatened to walk away from the project. After a three-week-long stand-off between Janssen and Hanna-Barbera, Hanna-Barbera finally relented and allowed Janssen to keep Holloway, and changed Valerie back to being African-American.)

#9 Black Mom Power!

Mocha Moms Inc, was formed in 1997 by a group of moms in Prince George’s County, MD, as a national, non-profit organization that supports women of color who consider themselves at-home mothers. This represented a real shift in our typical role as out of the home workers and showed how black families were evolving, climbing economic scale and having options that weren’t available before. Today there are over 100 chapters across the country.


#8 Meaningful Media

The Kellogg Foundation funds The Black Maternal Health Project  of Women’s eNews, a series of groundbreaking articles examining the health issues and social stressors that negatively impact black women’s health and reproductive outcomes.


#7 Natural Products Just for Us…And Our Kids!

After years of developing a cult following for her hand-made, all-natural bath and body products, Lisa Price founder of Carol’s Daughter  opens her first boutique in Fort Greene, Brooklyn in 1999 chock full of shea butters and other natural ingredients for our dry skin and misunderstood hair.  In 2005, with the help of Steve Stoute and celebrity investors like Will & Jada Pinkett Smith and Mary J. Blige, Lisa Price goes national and gives black moms everywhere great natural products for our hair and for our kids. Lisa’s popular “Hair Milk” kept my son’s curly afro looking great for years!

#6 Our Sex in the City

You Gotta Have Girlfriends: If you didn’t have you own set of girls, In 2000 Girlfriends debuted on television introducing us to Joan, Toni, Lynn and Maya as a black female posse of smart, beautiful and sexy women. The show, centered around their friendship living and working in LA, gave modern day black women relatable characters, good laughs and a weekly lens on singlehood, sisterhood, motherhood and everything in between. The show becomes one of the highest rated scripted shows among black women aged 18-34 before it was cancelled (booo!!) in 2008. Still there are a thousand Facebook apps for “Which Girlfriend Are You?” and I’ll never forget the episode where “Maya” contemplates adoption and says, “let’s get down there before Brad and Angelina snatch up all the good black babies.” Too funny.


#5  Our TV Mom Model

In  1980 Clair Huxtable, played by Phylicia Rashad, shows the world that we are professional, sexy, happily married (and even adored by our husbands) and still command real mama power. Bill Cosby did his part, giving Dads the don’t-make-me-say-it-twice catchphrase that would be heard by black kids for generations to come, when he famously said to son, Theo, “I bought you in this world. And I’ll take you out!”


#4 Saving Our Babies

In 1994, the “Back to Sleep” Campaign is launched to reduce the number of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a preventable death that disproportionately affects African American babies.  As a result of this campaign, SIDS deaths have been dramatically reduced.  


#3 For Mama, With Love

In  2005 Jamie Foxx, chokes back tears, remembering his grandmother Marie and her tough love—“whuppings” and all, that he credits with making him who he is today. At that moment, millions of black people thought about the moms, the Big Mamas, the Aunties and other relatives who, too,  taught them to “act like you have some sense,” gave them a “whuppping” with love and helped them become who they are today.


#2 Our Due Props

Barack Obama calls Michelle “the rock” of the family, telling the world about the role of Black mothers in our families and our communities, that we’ve known for a long time.


#1 To the White House

My number one Black Mom moment is without a doubt, Michelle Obama as First Lady and Mom-in-Chief. Who knew, that the coolest mom to ever grace the White House would be a black mom? And, one who brought her own black mom with her, by the way. Gotta love it!


What would you add to the list?

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