There is a Crisis Happening at our Border

I am a black mother of a black child in America, and that means that I carry an abnormal desire not only to ensure my child’s safety but to actively pursue and defend it. I learned this from my ancestors. From the time I was a child, I’ve been made aware of this burden.

 

Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes, informed us in his poem, “Mother to Son,”

 

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—

Bare,

But all the time

I’se been a-climbin’ on,

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goinn’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.[1]

 

This is a narrative of a woman who is not wanted in her country, and yet she wants the best for her son. She tells him that in spite of her reality and the ever-present darkness in her life, he must keep going, he must not turn back, he must not fall, and he must continue to climb higher.

 

She keeps climbing because she wants a better life for herself and her son. That’s what all decent humans want for their offspring, a better life and the opportunity to keep climbing in spite of the darkness.

biracial children

As I reflect on this artistic work, I am reminded of the human need and desire to survive. I am also heartbroken by the mothers who have similar words to say to their children, but maybe now they are saying it with a little less hope or maybe their children can no longer hear their voices at all because they have been separated.

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.

[1] Langston Hughes, “Mother to Son” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47559/mother-to-son

Wakanda, Blackness, and the Kingdom of God

Black Panther poster

Like so many others, black people in particular, I have waited for the “Black Panther” movie for a long time. I was not a comic book reader as a kid, but the Marvel universe and its heroes have grown on me. Regarding this particular hero and story, my recent trips to Africa gave me a desire to see more of the continent’s beauty brought to the big screen for all the world to see. Additionally, I am a fan of many of the all-star cast’s bodies of work. The line-up included Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Lupita Nyong’o, Academy nominees Daniel Kaluuya and (my favorite) Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and break-out performances by Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira.

I love that this movie allows the world to see and celebrate a world where a community’s black identity is good all by itself. And I love how this movie gives us glimpses of our forgotten church history, including the present and future kingdom of God.

In Wakanda, Black Identity is “Very Good”

Upon my first viewing of the film, I thought, “This is what some white people in America are afraid of…”

Continue reading at Missio Alliance.

 

 

An Interview with Jo Saxton

Jo Saxton 2

Interview with Jo Saxton

 

Today, I have a special treat for you. I’m doing an interview with Jo Saxton, a leader I’m honored to know. You might recall that I posted a review of her new book, “The Dream of You” recently on the blog. Now I’m digging into some of the questions I had while reading it. I pray this will encourage you.  

 

Natasha: Jo, you have quite an interesting story. You speak all over the country and have become known as the “Nigerian Brit,” can you share a little bit about that story, and how your name changed from Modupe to Jo?

 

I call myself a Nigerian Brit because both play a fundamental role in my identity. I’m a Yoruba Nigerian, and my parents moved to England in the 1960’s. Many of my formative years were spent growing up among a wide Nigerian community in London. Nigerian food, Nigerian sounds, Nigerian cultural practices. That was my norm.

 

Nonetheless, London is my hometown; and it’s a diverse and cosmopolitan city. Its where I grew up, made friends, had crushes on local boys; I walked its streets and loved it. I feel such a visceral connection to London because its shaped me too. Still the London I grew up in is eclectic, much more so than the pictures of England captured in shows like Downton Abbey or The Crown.

 

My London includes Buckingham palace with the royal family, and Big Ben and tourist attractions, but it’s also Brixton market with its Ankara materials and meats and fruit. My London is fish and chips, and chicken tikka masala and jolloff rice. Its hanging out at the local pub and the local hair salon, knowing they house two different cultural worlds. Its reading Shakespeare, Ben Okri and Zadie Smith. Its Wham & Shalamar, soul music and Seal, as my elders dance to Sunny Ade again. All of that is the London I called my home.

Continue reading “An Interview with Jo Saxton”