Today is Mother's Day, and so I just had to write a blog post celebrating all of the strong mothers out there who are raising black boys.
To all the mothers, both black and white, single or married, I know it’s no easy feat raising young black boys.
Let's be completely honest; raising a young black boy is a lot more complicated than raising a child from any other ethnicity.
Young black men need their mother’s love
We still live in a world where black men, for the most part, are still stigmatised, marginalised and hated. While living as a young black man in the UK is not as problematic as it is in other parts of the world (looking at you US and the rest of the world really), it's far from perfect. We still face the same negative stereotypes and discrimination as our brothers in other parts of the world, it’s just not as severe and a lot more covert.
It is for this reason that young black men desperately need the love of their mothers in a world that is mostly unkind to them. Growing up in London, I experienced racism (London wasn't always as tolerant as it is now mainly in the late 90s), but my mother's nurturing love for me and young brother made us stronger. She fed us, read to us and was there for us in our darkest hours.
My mother was and still is a light in my world, and I am sure a lot of other young black men across the globe feel this way. Our mothers are the first type of love we experience in a world that would prefer if we were mostly locked up.
Young black men learn how to respect women from their mother
I respect women completely in every capacity, and that isn't just me waxing lyrical.
I am a feminist.
Throughout my career in PR & Marketing, I have worked with many fantastic women who have taught me so much. These are great women who have guided me and have been very patient with me as I fount my feet in my career.
Even though myself and my daughter’s mother split up, I still respect her immensely. She is a fantastic mother and a good human being.
While I was younger, I watched my mother boss the house. While my father was busy working his ass off, my mother made sure all her children were fed, clean and living in a home that was warm and cosy. I remember, when I still lived with my parents, I would watch my mother spend hours in the kitchen a day before Christmas, preparing a Nigerian feast for the whole family and she still does that till this day.
I respect women because I saw the power of womanhood and motherhood. From witnessing this, I understood what a crucial and irreplaceable role woman play in the family structure but also within the greater world at large.
"...young black men desperately need the love of their mothers in a world that is mostly unkind to them."
Just being able to carry a child in their womb for nine months means women deserve our respect for that feat alone. I saw my daughter being born, and it was so incredible that it gave me an even greater appreciation for the wonder that is the female body.
Young black men will be better parents by learning from their mother
Don't get me wrong; my father was and still is a great father. As a traditional Nigerian man, he was steadfast in his role as provider and trust me, he provided.
But my mother was the one who nurtured myself and my siblings. She showed us the meaning of unconditional love for your kids and the importance of being emotionally present in your child's life.
As a parent, I look at the way my mother raised me and do my best to replicate that with my daughter. Therefore I try to be as patient as I can be (not an easy feat with a hyperactive three-year-old) but also do my best to understand and respect my child's emotions.
As a father from the millennial generation, I do feel that emotional intelligence will play a more significant role in our fatherly responsibilities than it did the past. But we can adapt to this by watching how mothers interact with their child as women are, for the most part, more nurturing than us men.
Let us never forget the strength of mothers
Mother's Day is about celebrating all the amazing mothers across the world from all walks of life, from all backgrounds and all communities.
But let's shout out to all the woman who are owning motherhood, especially those raising black sons.
In a world where black men are often falling in a void of darkness, our mothers have always been the light we needed to guide us out of it.