Black Mamas Bend, They Never Break

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Black Mamas Bend, They Never Break

Miss Major in a Pride Parade

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When I learned that “Power and Flowers” was the theme of this year’s Mamas Day campaign, I smiled on the inside. I thought it was such an appropriate theme. To be a mama — a Black trans mama — is to be both delicate and strong.

My motherhood is more than just nurturing, caring and having the look for the public and that old crap. Black motherhood means harnessing the loving nature, power and strength of ourselves as Black people and sharing it with those around us.

Black mamas have the grace and the wherewithal from the years of shit we’ve had to put up with to bend and give like palm trees. But we’ve had the resiliency and strength of oak trees to not break, not give in, and not give up.

Miss Major poses during a performance in a gold dress.
Miss Major during a performance
Black and white photo of Miss Major in the drivers seat, flashing a big smile, with the car door open.
Miss Major sits in car flashing a big smile.
There would not be a movement without us. We are the knowledge. We are the history. We have kept races alive when people have tried to make them become extinct. It is in the midst of life storms and dilemmas that our communities and children rely on our love, guidance and wisdom to help figure things out. Mothers have a sense about things. There’s an intuition in us that helps us love and negotiate through stuff to keep our communities and children safe from harm.

As the movement evolves, I need the younger people who are around to acknowledge that what they’re living and what they’ve been born into has not always been here. They must appreciate the history, the suffering, the pain, and the deaths of people who came before in order to have it be the way it is now. Folks can’t just say, “I’m old and I don’t get it.” Listen to what I have to say first and see if it applies. And utilize what works for you. What doesn’t work for you, fine, set it aside, because your ass is going to need it later.

Black motherhood means harnessing the loving nature of the power and the strength of ourselves as Black people and sharing it with those around us.

In the beginning of my mamahood, I was hooking. I never thought anyone was truly listening to me other than some of the girls who were working with me. But over the years, my words of wisdom and guidance and resistance have influenced multiple generations. Having this impact has been an amazing honor.

I’ve always wished that after Stonewall my community had received the recognition and the respect that we deserved. When I realized that that wasn’t going to ever happen, I just let it go and just kept doing what I felt needed to be done. I want my girls and my guys to be safe and to have the chance to live the lives that they want to live and not the ones that are delegated to us by some motherfucker who doesn’t know who the hell we are.

I will say that I love that girls are comfortable showing up and showing out as their full selves. I was a part of a conference and the most exciting thing for me was to go and pick girls up from the airport. They were in their garb, honey. I mean, they were dressed, and painted, and done, and nails, and perfume. And it was just so beautiful. It made me cry. It was so amazing to see that they could do that now, because when I grew up, we didn’t have that freedom. There wasn’t even the availability or the thought that it could happen, you know.

Miss Major in her living room
Miss Major in her living room

To see the liberty that my trans family has is wonderful. Whether it’s getting an apartment or doing simple things like shopping dressed in the attire that suits who they are, these liberties are the most wonderful thing ever. Now, if I could get the rest of the world to accept usand leave us the fuck alone, it would be a pretty nice world to live in.

To my other Movement Mamas, I say this: We got to believe in whatever it is that we believe in because there are so many things that we don’t have any control over. We need to work with, and nurture, and take care of the things that we do have control over, which is ourselves and our reactions to the world around us.