The role of “Mother” is taken for granted. Too often for too long. Mother is the foundation for any community, family, and nation. She is important for the development of little girls, as she teaches them the artistry of womanhood. She is valuable for little boys, as she instructs them on the role of the feminine. Their first teacher in how a woman is to operate, nurture, nourish, and sustain her family and community. Mother is a treasure, more valuable than rubies, diamonds, emeralds, silver, and gold.
A loss of Mother means a foundation has been shaken. Loss of one’s own mother translates into a void, that can never be filled. How does one cope with that void? In the case of boy children, how does one ever heal from that? Its a journey that no one ever understands, until they have actually gone through the horrendous experience of. . . losing their mother.
When we examine the role of Mother in Black America’s gardens, in herstory, we are introduced to a feminine being of myriad roles, that were created for the sustaining of her community and people. Responsibilities not birthed from her own desire. Nevertheless, they were taken on, as a necessity. Therefore, in Black America, mother, has a complex and diverse identity.
One of the painful and horrendous actions, projected against Black America, was the de-valuing (and making invisible) of the Mother image. A tactic, that was specifically designed in order for Mother to be viewed as “the problem and source of blame” for the existence and problems within Black America’s soiling. Tactics were created for the rejection of her image and Being; including those maidens, who resembled her. Thus, initial attempts in the dismantling, and destruction, of Black American communities. Nevertheless, they continued on. One thing which is rarely mentioned are the appreciation and love for Black American mothers, by Black American boy children. Their desire to be nurtured, loved, and cared for by their own culture of women, maidens, and mothers is rarely highlighted in mainstream media. And yet, those stories, exist! More abundant than what many realize.
In observing the video, “Care For You,” by R&B singer and actor, Mario, viewers are given one story, concerning the healing of Black American boys. What happens to our sons, fathers, husbands, boyfriends, and lovers when they lose their mothers? Whether it be through natural causes, accidents, drug abuse, alcohol addiction, or other factors that continue to plague Black American mothers. What happens to the foundation of their emotional state and psyche? Furthermore, what is the journey they must partake on, in order to find a healing to that void? The video, “Care For You” is an artistic and picturesque view of one Black American son’s desire and journey to bring healing to the loss of Mother. In addition, it is a journey, which looks to navigate life without her physical presence (in human flesh), while staying close (and recognizing) her spiritual one. In order to do that, Black American men, must return to the memories of boyhood, in order to sustain their mental connection to Mother. Capturing and photographing her, in all of her entirety. Including those, which are not pleasant. A walk through distant memory, takes place.
The video is poignant in its visual representation. It highlights different stages and points in Mario’s life. The different periods of boyhood and his connection to Mother takes viewers on a journey of a son with Mother. The complexities and challenges of Mother, even in her nourishment and loving of him. This inviting take is a walk “down memory lane,” up until the very present, where Mario has developed into manhood. All the while trying to make sense of the reality that Mother is no longer here. His major foundation in understanding the feminine, his own culture of Black American femininity, is no longer present on Earth. What is a man to do? What is this Black American man, to do?
A telling modern vintage. One story of Black America in the urban context. For a while it was just she and him. Mother and son. Even when she was unable to protect herself, she made sure to protect him. Its one of those sacrificial traits of. . .Mother. In this story line, Mario highlights how Mother loved him. Spending time with him. Talking with him. Lip synching with him. Pulling him away from places he should not be, when he was a little boy. Running after him, during those times of teenage rebellion and frustration. Mother was there. So, how could she no longer be, here?
Its a grappling question. It’s a painful question. Now, that he has a centered foundation in his manhood, Mother is invisible. So, he must return to the memories of boyhood and adolescence to see her. It is there, where she can be found. Hmmm. . .the mental journey continues.
One of the aesthetically pleasing attributes of this digital artistry are the 3 Marios. Sitting within the same vicinity. A man looks upon two boys, seated before him. These boys are more valuable, than he could ever imagine them to be. They are that sacred link to, Mother. A sacred link to those foundational stages between he and Mother. Those boys had been forgotten. Hidden in the backdrop of one’s colorful psyche. Now, they have returned. In order for this grown man to maintain his spiritual connection to Mother, he will need these two boys. One of the primary stages. The other of the teenage ones. They are like two, guardian angels. Protecting and guiding the child within, so that he never loses that Mother-son connection.
This digital masterpiece by Mario, is more than a storybook reality. It is a visual diary of his healing journey. A therapy of coping with the loss of Mother’s physical presence. That in order to deal with the present reality, he must return to the past; and, all the treasures that come with it, because Mother was there. The distant and near past will be Mario’s mental and emotional safehaven and safe keeping.
As a man, Mario has taken the position as. . .the head. Now, he is the master and director of his life. Through his inner children, and the physical reminder of the two boys, present before him, Mother is here. She is alive and well in the spiritual realm. Mother will work through his inner child. Guiding him and answering all of the questions he has for his life’s journey, ahead. However, those two little boys must be kept near. So close because they are sacred. Remembering them. Remembering those two stages of boyhood. Holding them tight and keeping them close, means that Mother can work through, around, and into this stage of man. Mario will never be without mother, even if that means he can not see her with the naked eye, alone. That spiritual connection is the Universe’s way of seeing beyond physical flesh. Our losing of a loved one means that Heaven will use other living Beings to show traces of their spirits on Earth. That way we continue to give life to the meaning of, eternity.
The sacredness of this profound image, where Mario sits at the desk, as two younger versions of himself face him, is one of the pivotal moments in the video. Vulnerability. The willingness for Black American men to be. . .vulnerable. Its revolutionary, as it compares to traditional and mainstream identities, associated with Black American masculinity. There is a centeredness. A calmness. Points of emotional exposure. Acknowledgement in needing to regroup. Desire and need to go deeper (spiritually and emotionally), in order to immerse back into his foundational core. And, it all started with. . .Mom. Revolutionary imagery in every sense of the terms. Black American aesthetics. Nutritious to the core.
Further analysis of this scene showcases Mario staring keenly at the two boys, positioned before him. In addition to being the gatekeepers to his access to Mother, they are also reminders for his ongoing need to celebrate them, in order to get to. . .her. They, too, will also be his guide.
In addition to, “Care For You,” being a celebration for Black American men’s willingness to be vulnerable and admit that they need their mothers, their Black American mothers (and the gardens that have birthed them), it is also a release of the toxicity, which has been plagued against them. These horrific perceptions of aggressively and “beastly, strong, Bucks,” who can build other communities, while being removed from their own. Inhumane images of having no cultural, feminine counterpart, who births them. Simply being wild and free for others’ pleasures, exploitation, and servitude. And, when stories of their humanity, or successes, are conveyed, it is always removed from their culture, communities, women. . .and Mothers. For Mario to place his Mother, and his yearning for her, in his video, is groundbreaking. His desire for Mom to be, in the flesh and in memory, challenges the racist stereotype of Black American men being. . .motherless.
The courage of dealing with those childhood and boyhood issues, and their connection to manhood, is radical. Healing. Spiritually illuminating. In Black America, it is evermore so. Throughout the video, there are two significant concepts of time. One of those is the beautiful necklace, highlighted by a honey brown, circular pendant, given to him by his mother. There are three, different close ups, of his Being, which highlights this. Then, there is the small ball, which circulates around his desk. Around this scene are other symbols associated with time. The circle is a very important shape, as it signifies balance and continuation. Life will go on. How we cope with it matters. Simultaneously, life is not only on Earth, but in the here and after. Which means that our loved ones are with us, for all eternity. Their presence continues to show up, in different ways, as we matriculate on Earth. Its a way of demonstrating that, they care. A method of highlighting that the Spirit is in the way of the Circle. In time, returning to that little boy, inside, will be the source of his liberation, and defeat of his grief. For, in time’s allure, he will come to realize, that Mother, is right there with him, all along. Even if she is not visible to the naked eye.
The final point of the video highlights the gradual process of sight from a child’s eyes, all the way to adulthood. New insight into what a journey with Mother into the Spiritual realm will entail. It is one of the closures, needed by a “little boy,” who misses his mother. Going from boy, teenager, to man. The cycle has been completed, and having the ability to be circulated, and re-visited, over and over again. Seeing, imagining, and remembering “Mommy,” again. Its one of the most profound moments in the video. Furthermore, it comes to showcase that healing comes through memory. And, it is our memory of the departed, which keeps our loved ones, alive. The greatest essence, and example, of care!