“I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to cool myself off. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.” -Hattie White, grandmother of Sean “Jay-Z” Carter
Y’all, black mamas are the Sugar Honey Iced Tea. They have faced four-hundred years of oppression and trauma, the tripled consciousness of being black and female in the United States, and still they prevail. They’ve been ripped from their children to care for white babies, have had to endure seeing their boys killed in the streets, and have soothed daughters subjected to cycles of violence. They have wept and cursed, they have been humiliated in the work place and the media, they have been erased from history. And still they rise. Black mothers raised our nation, and still found the time to create the most bomb baked mac n cheese in the world.
I’d like to share with you all a little bit about the amazing black mommys in my lineage:
My Granny, who makes heavenly roast beef and sweet tea and cheers for the Cardinals. Who feeds her family with apple pie and cornbread and a heaping portion of love. My Granny, who is as determined and fiery as she wants to be, and who sure will tell you what’s what. My granny, who played make-believe with me when I was small and sings to me on the phone every year for my birthday. My wonderful Granny, whose soft grey curls frame her beautiful, black mama face. (Her hair is always LAID, even when she says its not).
Then there’s my Nana, who I still feel with me always. My Nana, who used to call just to talk about Dancing with the Stars, who made sprite and lemonade ice cubes for me during hot summer afternoons. Who loved mysteries and primetime news and shrimp scampi. My dear Nana, whose round cheeks and adventurous spirit I share.
And my mama. My mama. I can scarcely write this without tearing up. My mama, who has made lemonade of every lemon she was handed in life. My mama, who loves shopping and Lifetime movies and daily hour-long walks. My mama, who I adore, and who, though a kind woman, wouldn’t hesitate to shoot anyone who threatened her family. My tough, big-hearted, badass, intellectual, gorgeous mama. I love you with all of me.
All this to say, y’all better cherish the black mamas, aunties, and grandmas in your life. Hold them close, because they’ve been holdin’ it together all their lives. And put some respeck on they names, because they ain’t the ones.
Happy Mother’s Day!!
Love and theatre,
PS: That’s my mommy in the featured photo, with her mama (my Nana). What a cutie!