EPISODE #85

Dispatches from Black Motherhood

EPISODE #85

Dispatches from Black Motherhood

Anthonia Akitunde is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants. Like a lot of first generation kids, her parents pushed her to succeed. And she did. She became an editor for The Huffington Post, and writer for places like The New York Times, Fast Company, and The Root.

Anthonia-parents-squareAnthonia-headshot-square

Four years ago, Anthonia started to think about her eventual future as a mother. And that future included a vibrant career. She couldn’t image how she’d ever balance the two. All of the books and articles and websites she could find on the subject of work and motherhood seemed to be by white women. (Think Sheryl Sandberg and Anne-Marie Slaughter.) Anthonia was like, Well, if I can’t find what I’m looking for, I’ll just start it.

Anthonia launched her website mater mea, by interviewing her Black working mom heroes like the poet and LGBT rights activist Staceyann Chin, the stylist and model Mengly Hernandez (top image), and the artist Wangechi Mutu (below).

WangechiMutu-squareWangechiMutu-work-square

The interviews are all accompanied by gorgeous photography of the women in their work environments, as well as with their children.

Wangechi Mutu with her daughter Neema

Wangechi Mutu with her daughter Neema

At the time, Anthonia didn’t quite realize how revolutionary this was—to have beautifully shot photographs on the internet of Black moms just doing plain old mom things.

Educator Takiema Bunche-Smith with her son Na'im

Educator Takiema Bunche-Smith with her son Na’im

TV personality Timberly Whitfield with her children Raina and Gabriel

TV personality Timberly Whitfield with her children Raina and Gabriel

On mater mea, Anthonia shows you all the touching, emotional, inspiring stuff going on in the lives of Black moms. But she also covers the tough stuff. In today’s episode, we’ll hear from the moms pictured above about how they’ve talked to their kids about racism and police brutality. And one mom (below) will talk about the extraordinary lengths she’s taken to keep her son safe.

School psychologist Elmeka Henderson with her son Chris

School psychologist Elmeka Henderson with her son Chris

Anthonia will also talk about her engagement to a white Jewish guy, and her thoughts about raising interracial kids someday.

Anthonia-Scott-scaled

Also, check out:
mater mea’s new podcast. And this video with Black mothers about how their children are viewed by society.

Visuals and video: Sekiya Dorsett

How have you talked to YOUR kids about racism?
Or tell us anything at all about this episode that resonated with you. Comment, please!

mater mea photos: J. Quazi King; Anthonia headshot: Raydene Salinas; Elmeka Henderson photo: Adachi Pimentel

Our sponsors for this episode are Amazon Kindle, Alarm.com (code: COOL16),  Owlet (code: PARENTING), and Icon Undies (code: LONGSHORT) Use the promo codes at checkout for a special discount.

22 thoughts on “EPISODE #85: Dispatches from Black Motherhood

  1. This moved me to tears. I’m a biracial woman (black/white), and have always been raised with a slightly confusing outlook. I’m naturally more drawn to European music and culture, but I’m so proud to be black and honor that side of my family and -history with my whole heart. I’ve dealt with ‘Oreo’ comments and discomforts from a few of my family members for my entire life, especially because my interests have led me to more (but NOT exclusively) white circles. I’ve found the love of my life in a white man, and people already discuss how my 75% white children “won’t know what they are”. Being a shade of tan or brown shouldn’t automatically create a boundary in what someone likes or who someone loves…or even, what someone does for a living. Women struggle enough, humans struggle enough. People of color throughout the world struggle enough, for a physical trait that wasn’t chosen.

    In honor of not following stereotypes, and honoring the Plight of the Woman fully…I am so, so grateful for the work presented on this website and in this show. Thank you so much!! You have made my week! I can’t wait to share this podcast and website with my sisters and friends.

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