LeTava Mabilijengo: A Black Queen Under Fire
Earlier this week, I received a request from a very close friend. He wanted me to reach out to a friend, whom he holds dear, in order to encourage them. This friend was under fire due to a video that had surfaced showing her in a confrontation with a store clerk at a Family Dollar in the Indianapolis area. Fortunately, I had already viewed the video in question, and personally I did not make much out of it. From my perspective, she was a mother defending the identity and self-image of her young children. Honestly, we need more mothers to stand up for Black culture when it comes under attack.
In an environment where simply being black has been declared to be illegal and an act of aggression, it is of immense importance that we, as parents and leaders, reaffirm the beauty and value in our Blackness, so that our children are able to extricate themselves from the identity crisis that has been so prevalent among us for centuries.
What I would like to address briefly is the push back that this Black sister has received because of that video — not from Whites, but from her own people. As a behavioral scientist, one of the things that I absolutely disrelish is a situation in which people react to situations without taking the time to develop an understanding of the context. If the people who felt the need to attack this woman, would have taken the time to look into her background, they would have discovered that she has an exceptional mind and that she has been hyperactive in the Black community for more than two decades.
They would have discovered that she has authored multiple books that are directed at the empowerment of her own. Understanding these things would have helped to properly frame the context of her behavior on that day at Family Dollar. Understanding that she has been a voice of strength for those who have no voice, would have provided a more illuminous perspective from which to evaluate her behavior. Maybe if these people would have taken the time to learn that the Afro-centric attire her children were wearing that was at the center of the confrontation was made by hand by her children, it would have explained the ferocity and force she demonstrated in defending their honor, and their right to wear what they had made.
This Black woman — no — this Black Queen, has dedicated her adult life to helping young black sisters rebuild their own lives. These unprovoked assaults are not how we should address a queen. It is not how you respond to her unadulterated blackness. The truth is that every Black person should have been offended on her behalf.
We must learn that when one of us is assaulted, all of us are in mind. The fact that it was easier to attack her than it was to see the validity of her indignation speaks volumes to the level of self-hatred among. I am embarrassed for all of you who deemed it to be an acceptable course of action to attack her. You don’t represent the heart of the African mindset of oneness and unity. You are the manifestation of the divisive mindset that has been thrust upon you by a White establishment that desires to render you ineffective and void of power.
For future reference, we correct our women and our warriors in private. We stand, undivided, in public.
Where were you when she stood before elected official and local politicians to declare “You may find them not guilty, but we find them guilty, and there is no place they can hide from justice,” when addressing city leaders about White police officers killing Black men?
To be honest, I personally believe the sister is far too valuable to be exposed the way that she is, but the lack of Black men with backbones has forced many of our queens to the front lines. With the vast majority of you who attacked her not being willing to step up and step out, how dare you attack someone who has done it consistently for years.
I would simply suggest that you take the time to get to know the woman, the mother, the activist who is LeTava Mabilijengo. You may learn that you have discovered a jewel worth protecting, instead of someone you feel the need to ridicule. ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.