I’M SORRY MS. JACKSON!!

[Andre 3000] Yeah this one right here goes out to all the baby’s mamas, mamas… Mamas, mamas, baby mamas, mamas. Yeah, go like this. [CHORUS: Andre 3000] I’m sorry Ms. Jackson [OOOH], I am for real. Never meant to make your daughter cry. I apologize a trillion times. I’m sorry Ms. Jackson [OOOH], I am for real. Never meant to make your daughter cry. I apologize a trillion times

ORDER. Remember the storyline to this video? Big Boi was outside cleaning his car when Ms. Jackson drove by with that mean look in her eyes. Andre was in the house trying to do some home improvements amidst watery leaks coming in through the roof. As soon as he caught one leak, another came. Eventually a storm broke out and the whole roof caved in as lightening struck sending Big’s car into flames.  The entire story is a metaphor for relationships. We catch one leak, then another, then another until one day the whole damn roof caves in. Rather than fix the roof, we just catch the leaks hoping things will work out fine. More times than not, things just don’t “work themselves out.” Eventually lightening strikes sending our most prized possessions into flames. In the video, it was Big Boi’s car. In the video of life, it’s our relationships with one another.

Today’s DDR is inspired by a good friend of mine. It’s a little longer because I really feel for him and others like him. A situation he is in prompted me to explore the relationship issues of my generation.

Oftentimes, I come across so many women and men who were once upon a time a couple. And for a variety of reasons and factors they didn’t make it in the long run. Most have children involved in the break-up of the relationship. Some have peaceful relationships with their child’s mom or dad. Unfortunately, most of those I know do not have amicable relationships after the break-up or divorce. Each time I come across these stories I have this really bittersweet feeling. On one hand, I’m glad that I’ve waited to have children because the drama that seems to exist from broken families is quite intense. Something I wouldn’t want to deal with. On the other hand, some of the men that I meet who have a child or children from a previous situation have not put the tension to total rest. Somehow some way there’s some residue. Chaotic residue that gets rubbed on the new dude or new chick depending on how deep the relationship gets. I’ve been that chick, and it don’t feel good.

[Big Boi] My baby’s drama mama, don’t like me. She be doin things like havin them boys come from her neighborhood to the studio tryin to fight me… [Andre 3000] Ms. Jackson my intentions were good I wish I could become a magician to abacadabra all the sadder thoughts of me, thoughts of she, thoughts of he. Askin what happened to the feelin that her and me. Had, I pray so much about it need some knee, pads. It happened for a reason one can’t be, mad. So know this, know that everythang’s cool. And yes I will be present on the first day of school, and graduation.

I’ve just concluded that my generation is the babymomma/baby daddy generation.  We seem to have more baby-made situations than marry-made situations. When I look at my elders I see more married couples than unmarried couples.  Most of my friends’ parents are married and were married when they decided to have children.  Although my mom and dad (RIP daddy) divorced when I was young, they were married when they had my sister and me.  For some reason, my generation is reluctant to fully commit, and when we do we are patient with the rocky road only for so long. Myself included. For some reason we went to sleep in class when the conversation of family and what it takes to sustain a family came up. Mike Render, also known as Killer Mike, made a profound statement when we filmed Walking With Guns. He said that the post civil rights/hip hop generation has not done our own civil rights campaign with one another. He said that we have not gotten pass this anger and this feeling that we’ve been denied by one another. It is this anger, he concluded, that causes us to take from one another and rob and steal from each other. To diss one another.  I agree with him. And I will go even further to say that these factors influence our family structures and our family values. Perhaps this is why there’s a high percentage of African American children who are raised in single family homes led by women. I wonder about the role high incarceration rates play in the sustainability of black families. What about high HIV rates in black women, and the number of black men living secret lives of homosexuality? And what about those who want a family (myself included), but are reluctant to commit because the issues surrounding my generation are so deep-seeded and so damn prevalent, therefore creating a warped sense of possibilities to stay “forever ever. Forever ever?”

The DDR: Do we marry outside our race or do we stick it out in the name of the campaign Mike spoke about? I mean who wants to be out here in this zoo of a world assed out loving someone who doesn’t reciprocate it or who doesn’t know HOW to reciprocate it because of past issues?  I don’t know the answer. But THERE’S HOPE!! My friend Nathan has been to 35 weddings in the last 3 years, and ALL 35 COUPLES ARE STILL GOING STRONG!! He also told me that the oldest living couple is an African American family. Word!  And there’s more work to be done regarding the rebuilding and sustainability of our families. Perhaps all it takes is an “I’m sorry Ms. Whoever or Mr. Whoever.” Perhaps then women like me will be in better positions to let down our guards to love men with kids. Same goes for men. Perhaps they can love women with children a little more if we killed the baby daddy hysterics. Because it’s really about the kids, right? Keeping a child from his or her mom or dad because the parents didn’t work out is so not right.  Allowing a parent to even do such a thing is even more detrimental. The rebuilding of the black family is one of the contemporary challenges of the new civil rights movement. What if we began the campaign by being honest, upfront, and personal about who we are and where we are. We don’t have to be disagreeable to disagree. But we must respect one another. Maybe this is where we can start. Respect is truthful. Respect is orderly. Respect is righteous. I wonder how much progress can be made through truth, order, and righteousness.  Have good day.

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