Mother’s Day-The official holiday that makes us all giddy for old school photos of ourselves with our mamas. Be it biological or gifted from the Universe, I have been lucky to encounter many bomb moms in my life. This list is not as extensive as I want it, but here is my list of Bomb Moms I love–and why you should too. Happy Mothers Day!
Like any relationship, my mother and I have our fair share of disagreements (the fact that she’s an Aries while I’m a Gemini doesn’t help), but this is the woman who birthed me, and my daily gratitude is always given to her. This is my Oakland bred first love–she is the first reason why #IHellaLoveOakland.
I first met this beautiful being at Oakland Music Festival as I was preparing to interview Jesse Boykins III. She had a beautifully wrappred headress on and her lips were the perfect shade of magenta. Kate Dash is the founder of Bomb Mom Club– a site devoted to showcasing the beautiful moms in her life. Dash is also a member of Malidoma Collective, an Oakland based women’s artist collective projecting a spectrum of the female vision & voice. (Side note: They just opened an amazing studio on 329 15TH ST street called Shop Maater and had an official Bomb Mom Club Relaunch during Oakland Drop Beats!)
#BlackExcellence…If you haven’t been following up with artist Dom Jones lovely webseries/campaign Black Love Heck Yeah–this just in, black love does exist *gasps from the crowd.* This beautiful bride is my sister Lisa (you can tell the resemblance by the forehead size), next to my brother in law, her husband, Bryan. Far left to Lisa is my handsome nephew Daylon (who reminds me of Laurence Fishburne circa Boyz n The Hood, and is a gifted musician from what I hear). The lovely gal in the pink dress is my very animated Raven who needs a camera in front of her ASAP. The mini beauties on the bottom (from L to R) are my nieces Keyani, Lisa’s daughter Bree’Ana and Devonae. Lisa is outgoing, unapologetic and loving beyond compare.
Since I’ve come to know Zakiya and her work, she has had a phenomenal effect on how I navigate life in the short span of time that I’ve been exposed to her. I can only imagine (and be a bit envious) on the daily amount of wisdom she is instilling on her young daughter. Zakiya Harris-a social and cultural changemaker is proving that being a single mother shouldn’t stop you from living and creating the life you want for yourself (althewhile being a profound impact just as much outside of the home). I view Harris as one of Oakland’s honorary village momma’s-it takes a village to raise a child, and Harris is definitely doing her part with her work at Hack The Hood and Grind For The Green. Thank you, Zakiya!
Those without children don’t do nearly half the things this woman does. Voted one of 11 women who rocked Oakland in 2014, Jazz is An international poet, artist, & educator who serving communities seeking transformation through art. I have no doubt that her little one, Nassor is going to be an integral part of helping our future change the world one day. Jazz is also a member of Malidoma Collective.
Ka’Ra and her little Ra are amazingly stylish-but the reason I love her goes deeper than the clothes she wears. Recently listed as one of 22 of the best female musicians in the East Bay, singer/songwriter, Ka’Ra is one half of musical duo Flores Verdes, as well as having some solo music under her belt. I have wanted to meet Ka’Ra since I discovered her Instagram account in 2013–I finally had the pleasure of meeting her and her young King a few months back. I love Ka’Ra for her forward thinking and soulful sound aesthetic.
Since the murder of her son Oscar Grant New Year’s Day 2009, Wanda Johnson has been a leader in advocating against police misconduct. If you’ve ever been to a march in Oakland, there’s no doubt you’ve heard the inspirational speeches that Johnson gives–rain or shine, she is tirelessly out there fighting to for our lives so we don’t end up in the same tragic fate as her son. Wanda, you are a leader and an exceptional woman-thank you for all that you do for your community!
There’s actually two in here I should honor. The woman in the hospital bed is my Grandma, Aurora. I can’t even sugarcoat it-she was a very ‘difficult’ woman to put up with, to say the least. I will say, I am grateful for her lived experience–it has taught me that if you do not follow your dreams, if you do not give yourself the selfcare and positive affirmations you deserve, you will be left broken until your last breath. For context, my grandma was born and raised in East Oakland’s Fruitvale District. A Mexican American born in 1929, it was hard for her to have a sense of self during a segregated and racially tense time in our history ( a part of me feels this reoccurring today with gentrification and negative code words for “too many low income Black people in one space” when I hear people describe parts of Oakland as ‘weird’, or ‘sketchy’). Mi abuela wasn’t immune to racial insensitivity herself-it took her some time to cope with having Black grandchildren-to which she got over, because how can you not love Black babies?!) Long tangent- the person I want to acknowledge in this photo, is my sister Jennifer, who has birthed two of my exceptional nieces, Makayla and Julianna.
Karen has been nurturing and shaping the lives of not only those in her immediate family, but also serves as an integral staple in the communal fam as well. A visual artist, I discovered Karen through her exhibit The Black Woman Is God . Through her work on and off the canvas, Karen has impacted the lives of many within her community.
This woman. I cannot begin to express how phenomenal Emani is at bringing exceptional children into this world; some of which are college graduates, in college, preparing for college and excelling in k-12. To accomplish motherhood so gracefully with one child is hard enough, and Emani does it effortlessly with her tribe. A vessel of wisdom, I’ll let Emani’s words speak for itself: “I have told my children time and time again.this is a class and caste struggle….not a race struggle, even tho white supremacy exist.there will come a time to draw a line in the sand, and the criterion to be on our side won’t be skin or nationality. You will have your own people …who will act as the most supreme foe…but because they have on a costume (SKIN) to pretend it’s about US….u will be confused.Dont be.Principles are best for those who are calculated in the Art of War”
Another Bomb Mom/Malidoma/Shop Maater and Oakland creator, I’ve only met Kelly once in the physical form, but am lucky enough to get daily doses of her inspirational self on social media. Kelly is a visual artist (I’m sure among a wide array of artistry), while managing life as a mom. Her message to new moms out there: “learn as much as you can, use your pregnancy as healing time from your past so you could be stronger for your new future
& while you our focusing on your family, always make time for you #selflove!”
Another sister of mine, Donnetta is the comedian in the family. No matter what’s going on, she can always lighten up a room with her witty remarks. She’s also given me two lovely nieces, Ajanae (L) and Ebony (R). What I love best about Donnetta-she has always been a welcoming source of outpouring love.
Wife of my nephew, Devon ( I am getting used to being called his aunt, although I’m only three months older than him) my niece in law Kenya is the wonderful and loving mother to my two nieces Keyani (L) and Devonae (R). I got to hold these sweet little beings for the first time as they so lovingly slept on my chest during my sister’s wedding a few weeks back-a symbolic gesture for me, being accepted to a family I haven’t had contact with for most of my life. What I love best about Kenya-she is fierce and constantly reminding her girls that they are beautiful just the way there are and that #BlackGirlsRock!
Local musician Maya Songbird has been singing since she can remember. She began singing at the age of 4, and took the leap of becoming a full time artist in 2009. A scary thing to do for anyone to abandon the traditional route and follow your dreams, Maya is teaching her son the power of believing in oneself. She is instilling courageousness by the simple act of being present in the moment and pursing whatever it is that you strive to accomplish. I love you, Maya!
Faith (center) is the mother of three of my loving external heartbeats Kaylani (L) Yasmin (C) and Sienna (R). As a single parent, I am constantly telling her ‘I don’t know how you do it”. Faith is one of the few people in my life (maybe the only person) that I can be completely myself with. I have known her since I was 11 (my lucky number) and am forever grateful the Universe gifted me with her as my Sol Sister.
My honorary sister, Geneva is one of the most intellectual, headstrong (and talkative!) women I know. A single parent to her son Larry (who I hear is an amazing athlete excelling in college football), Geneva has helped shape her son until the grown gentleman you see today. Thank you, Geneva for the years of wisdom and love you have instilled in my life-thank you for having me as your other ‘baby sis!’
My cousin Sam is mother to my niece, Ariel, who has excelled at school, to say the least. Like some of the others in my family listed here, Sam is an unapologetic free spirit who is never afraid to voice her opinion. From her daughter, Ariel “You’ve done a wonderful job raising me S/O to all the single mothers. I’m a work in progress but its getting better with time, remember I have your DNA circulating throughout my blood, so my craziness and mouth is partly you but it’s okay it’s you and I against the world. I’m always on your team Mommy! Happy Mothers Day”
My Indian sister, the founder of Wear Your Voice Magazine, Ravneet is more than just a boss to me. I can devote a whole article as to why Ravneet is a bomb mom. Realizing she didn’t want her children to grow up in the world in its current state, Ravneet founded Wear Your Voice, a vehicle for social change, redefining women in the media. Through WYV, she has helped others to speak their authentic truth and #WearTheirVoice. I often tell her I don’t know how the Universe put her and I together, but I am forever thankful for having this kooky and wildly creative woman in my life.
And…special love to Nanima for birthing my sister from another mother and being our honorary den mom while visiting!
To all the women on and off the list—thank you for all that you do today and everyday…You are truly appreciated! Have a mom that we missed you want to honor? Sound off in the comments below!