The Negro Mother - Poem by Langston Hughes
Children, I come back today
To tell you a story of the long dark way
That I had to climb, that I had to know
In order that the race might live and grow.
Look at my face - dark as the night -
Yet shining like the sun with love's true light.
Langston Hughes wrote a beautiful poem that is an ode to the African-American woman’s power, endurance and worth to their community. The tone is one of a woman’s burden and pride at having to be the strength for a nation while seeking her own freedom to express herself and be heard. Statistics show that there is a real bias in regards to initial coverage, continued reference, and the overall quality of media coverage in regards to the disappearances of black females. Keila Freeman has a family, children and friends that miss her. She deserves to have her voice heard and since she is not here, we as a community must speak! We must not let her voice go silent until she is found and returned back home. The silence of a nation to provide safety to our women speaks volumes to the value some put on black life especially
Why is this you ask?
Kristal Brent Zook, a professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism states in an article published in Essence magazine that, “Many consider women more sympathetic potential victims than men — and white women even more so, ‘Who’s appealing? Who’s sexy?’ she asked…The virginal, pure, blond princess is missing. It has a lot to do with class and sexuality and ageism, not just race.’” (1) These images that collide in the subconscious of America’s racist and dangerously dark history show in times of tragedy, conflict and uncertainty. Black women are portrayed by media to be strong, angry, and independent which is a direct difference from the "princess or damsel in distress" selling points of media. This causes a disconnect in how black women who are treated when in danger. Black women are Queens as well that deserve the same media urgency and coverage.
According to the FBI (January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014):
“A total of 239,593 minorities were reported missing in the United States (out of 635,155 for all races).” (2) This number is startling and has risen in the last three years sense the initial statistics were published. People of color are missing and the reporting is slow and mislabeled to “runaway” or “endangered.” The causes are immense as to why evil exists and people to cause harm to others. By all accounts on public record from family and friends, Keila Freeman is a loving, kind, and good mother. They describe her as highly intelligent, family oriented, and a good citizen who consistently strived for excellence. She was also a victim of domestic violence. She was not a runaway. She was not just another missing person. She is a beautiful and giving mother who would not leave her children by themselves.
To be clear, “Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.” (3) This article will not give power to assumptions or indict the man that a lot in the community is holding guilty for Keila Freeman’s disappearance or recorded violence towards her well being. Urban Thoughts Poetry will not say his name but hers. Her name is Keila Freeman.
How Can You Help?
On Sunday, Feb. 26th at The Phoenix at 1015 S. Cooer St. a benefit concert will be held to honor the name of Keila Freeman. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the show will start at 7 p.m. A $10 admission will be charged with proceeds going directly to Keila's children. Performances will be given by an all woman cast of TRILLOGY, Miss Joyce, Faith Moore, Poetic Flo, Paige Brown, Writeous Soul, and DJ Space Age. It is sponsored by Lyons Group Entertainment and One Sound Studios. I personally vouch for the credibility of Lyons Group Entertainment to assure the funding for the children are handled correctly. LGE has a record of doing good business to assure professionalism and proper accounting-in delicate matters.
Why should you go?
- We as a community have a responsibility to care for our own.
- Imagine your mother missing. Would you stay home for that if people were trying to help?
- The line-up is spectactularly star studded.
- MzVivacious is a hilarious comedienne who has an all black improv troupe and creator of the Memphis Comic Award show.
- Faith Moore is one of the best singers in Memphis and is captivating.
- Poetic Flo is a dynamic speaker, leader and motivator who moves audiences with her linguistic and speech skills to implore messages of hope to uplift women and enlighten crowds.
- Paige Brown has literally been featured in more shows than I could ever count because of her range and ability to provide a quality show.
- Writeous Soul is an influential figure in the poetry community that has blossomed into a national competitor in the poetry slam community.
- Miss Joyce is half-soul and half-pop diva that is a superstar in the making with how she controls the crowd with her vocals.
- D.J. Space Age is one of the most popular D.J.s in the mid-south. She has performed with some of the hottest names in the business and spins with the best of them.
- Last, It is for Keila Freeman. She is worthy of being honored, remembered and a call-to-action.
I urge you: THINKERS and supporters of Urban Thoughts Poetry and Speak Life Society to understand that we cannot be silent. I personally want to issue a challenge our BLACK MEN to love on these women correctly. I challenge EACH MAN on my timeline to buy a ticket for a woman and tell them you love them. To act on what I am asking, I will personally sponsor four tickets to the event for any woman that wishes to go. The only thing you have to do is go to my Urban Thoughts page, tag me and state why you need to go. Finish your statement with “I AM BEAUTIFUL #SayHerName #KeilaFreeman.” Preference will go to a mother and daughter who wish to attend.
Let’s save some young women today. Let’s show that we care about our women of color. Let’s be #JustBeautiful today. Keila Freeman is depending on us to be loud until they hear our cries and demands for Justice. We will not forget those who are missing from our communities. We will NOT forget. We will not wallow in sorrow for you to forget. We owe these beautiful women the act of REMEMBERING.
Remember to call local police and authorities immediately if a person is suspected to be missing. Do not allow others to tell you to wait. Keep speaking up for your loved ones! This community hears you. I hear you. Stay safe beautiful people. I love you all and for you this black man cries and hurts with you.
For more information on what to do if someone you know goes missing, please visit: http://blackandmissing.org/what-to-do-if-someone-goes-missing/ .
Citations in text and credit given to the following sources:
If you know anything no matter how big or small a detail, please write or call into local authorities.
of Urban Thoughts Poetry, Inc.
CEO of Speak Life Society