Let's change the way we eat, let's change the way we live and let's change the way we treat each other. -Tupac Amaru Shakur
March 3, 2017
Black History Month projects are always stressful. Yes, every kid's project should be on point but because I'm a black mom there's added pressure. Don't want to get my black card revoked because I missed the mark.
I go back and forth between "No, I shouldn't do my kids project" and "Give it here. Let mommy do the research and you just transcribe." The good thing is that I have kids who are adamant about the work being their own so they keep me in check. We help, because a shitty project is definitely a reflection of a not so involved parent, but they provide the direction and the words and ideas are their own.
Marley and Maya are named after notable black people, and John Lennon, so they get very excited to report on their namesakes.
BHM projects are no longer, simple 3-page reports. Teachers are getting creative these days. Last year, Marley had to do a soda bottle project and this year it was a cereal box. Thank God for Frank because IAM NOT creative. He has a vision and when executed, it's amazing. I'm woman enough to admit that daddy is Mr. Arts and Crafts. No shade.
Bob Marley for her first real BHM project was a given. Daddy came to the rescue and made the best damn soda bottle Bob Marley I'd ever seen. This year's project was on another level. She had to make a cereal box. She had to give her cereal a name, design all four sides and write a report. We went back and forth about who she'd focus on. She threw out some real crazy choices that had to be shot down. Migos was definitely not an option. After much discussion, we finally agreed on Tupac.
Marley's middle name is Amaru, after Tupac Amaru Shakur. When Frank suggested the name, months before she was born, I was totally against it. It means shining serpent. I'm Haitian and we're superstitious, we don't mess with snakes. My father went to his "grave" not knowing the meaning. He would surely think that Frank was the devil and I was the devil's wife for agreeing to it. Anyway, as I held her in my arms, on her first day out, Marley Amaru Shea rolled off my tongue so smoothly that there was no question.
Ever since she could understand that she was named after Tupac she had questions. She wanted to hear his songs and I remember searching for one that was age appropriate. No luck. Dear Mama wasn't even an option. I told her that when she turned 16, she, daddy and I would sit and listen to his anthology. She couldn't listen to his songs but she was allowed to read his poems. A Rose That Grew from Concrete is now one of her favorites.
She did her research which included her dad spitting out his favorite lyrics...well most of them. She loved the fact that Tupac was born in NYC and started off as a dancer. Yes, he had a tough exterior but his life was a struggle so it's no surprise. Besides that, the man was a lyrical genius. Marley would argue that he was misunderstood.
Some may think that Marley's choice was a bit unconventional and I'm cool with that. I have no problem with my kids wanting to think outside of the box.
In her project Marley described Tupac as strong, dedicated, talented, honest and emotional - all qualities that she holds. Between Tupac, Bob Marley and our dope parenting skills, I'd say that we're doing one hell of a job raising these kids.