When you are raised, and reared in the bosom of black excellence, all you know is to be black and proud. As a girl, I watched my family members live in a manner that was not perfect but that oozed strength, pride and knowledge. All the women in my midst were bold enough to stand with or against any man, they embodied the wisdom of their years and hundreds of years before them and they were fearless. Because of these women I knew what a strong black woman looked like before I even understood what it meant; and although my transition into womanhood was filled with hiccups, I never lost my way because of the foundation that the women before me had laid.
Speaking of hiccups, one of the biggest was me becoming pregnant at the age of 22. Still in college and struggling to find my way, I had no idea what I was going to do with a baby. Afraid to even utter the words to my family, my Great Grandma (Mabert) assured me before she passed that becoming a mother was not the end of the word and that I now had an even greater calling. It took me a while to truly absorb what she meant but I knew that I would be okay and so would the love that was growing inside of me.
While my son was growing inside of me, I knew that he would be special. My McCoy family is large but not one of us was born in the month of February, which was the month our matriarch Albert Wheeler McCoy (Mabert) was born. However, that changed after her passing in September 1998; on February 9, 1999, my son “Zay” was born. I totally understand that the significance may not register with you but for me it meant something and over the years I can honestly say that my son has proven to be very special and not just because he is my son.
While Zay is the perfect combination of me and his father, it has always been his personal light that shined brightest. For 17 years, I have watched him be more mature than his peers, more respectful than most adults and his eagerness to obtain knowledge is amazing.
As a parent, I think that it is vital that we give our children wings to soar and roots to grow and I am confident that I have done just that. I shared with him and allowed him to witness the same black excellence that made me a proud black woman. These experiences have without question groomed him into a strong black man who embodies the pride of our ancestors. I delight in the fact that he is cultured and knowledgeable of the world around him but I am proudest of the fact that he is very conscious and proud to be a black man.
I must be honest and share with you that during all that I find joyous about my son, his transition into manhood and his future; there is fear. I see what is happening to our black men in America; gunned down, wrongfully imprisoned and oppressed by those who see their greatness and fear it. While I pray for the best, I know that my truth could be that of Lucy McBath (mother of Jordan Davis), Sybrina Fuller (Mother of Trayvon Martin or Lesley McSpadden (mother of Mike Brown) which is a burden no mother should have to bear.
The truth is No matter how he presents himself, ignorance and hate may greet him and decide that his life has no value. I know all I can do as a mother is prepare him for the world and pray for him because he must leave the nest and I have no control over others. With all that I know in mind, I make it a habit to share with my son things that will give him a greater understanding about life and make him a better man. Below you will find six things that I want my son to understand as a black man.
- The world has enough niggers! You are a black man; you were created with purpose and it is important that you consider that purpose in all that you do and act accordingly.
- You are strong! Life may not always be kind; your strength will be tested but remember that you can do all things and even in those dark times, know that your light is brilliantly shining. Always understand that fall doesn’t make you weak, getting back up makes you stronger.
- Your greatest assets are wisdom and knowledge. Every black man should be guided by the wisdom and knowledge not just of his own understanding but of those who came before him and those around him. That wisdom and knowledge is never to be dumbed down because it is a part of your gift to the world.
- Your voice is vital! There are so many that need to hear your voice. There are so many that need to be fueled by your strength. Most of all the foundation you lay will empower the next generation of strong proud black men, so absorb the fact that you matter and use your voice in the most righteous manner.
- Your strongest ally is the black woman. Always love and respect the black woman as you do yourself. Hold her in the highest regard, protect her and she will do the same for you.
- Align yourself with other black men. Never allow social or economic difference to separate you from your brother. You are a much mightier force together. Don’t just be your brother’s keeper, be your brother.
This post is in connection with the #bloggersforblacklives movement. It is a way for us to share our stories and express why #blacklivesmatter. It is our desire to us our platforms to share our truth unselfishly and unapologetically because we know that it is needed now more than ever. We want you to know that although we have a passion for fashion and beauty, we are even more passionate about the world around us.
MY STYLE JOURNAL
Victorian Dress/Long shirt (custom made): Wendy S. Collection
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