Poet Breaks Down The Complicated Joys Of Black Motherhood

“Do I tell my son not to steal because it is wrong or because they will use it to justify his death?”

“I’ve always wanted to be a mother. Growing up I heard all about the joys of motherhood.”

That's how writer and poet Mwende Katwiwa, aka FreeQuency, begins her riveting spoken word poem "The Joys Of Motherhood." The Kenyan-native performed her powerful poem at the 2015 Women Of The World Poetry Slam this past March in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

FreeQuency talks about how much she wanted to be a mother, until she realized what motherhood is really like for so many black women in the U.S.

“Now I’m 23 years old and I don’t know if I have what it takes to stomach motherhood in this country," FreeQuency goes on. "Over the years America has taught me more about parenting than any book on the subject -- has taught me that some women give birth to babies and others to suspects, has taught me that this body will birth kin that are more likely to be held in prison cells than to hold college degrees."

She continues with how she grapples with the hard decisions she would have to make as the mother of a black son:

Do I tell my son not to steal because it is wrong or because they will use it to justify his death?

“Do I tell him that even if he pays for his skittles and sweet tea there will still be those in the neighborhood that will watch him and see criminal before child.”

Towards the end of her poem, FreeQuency tells the crowd that all of these issues take the "joys" out of being a mother for her: “There is something about being black in America that has made motherhood sound like something I’m not sure I look forward to.”

Watch the full video above.

Head over to FreeQuency's website to read more of her work.

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