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The Lasting Scents of Queens
5/6/2015 5:07:44 PM

By Hakim Abdul-Ali

I admit that I'm a complete romantic in all the pure essences of the word. And as such I have to lovingly admit that there are things that make me internally blush with joy.

One of these things that I fondly reflect upon is the love of special "hue-mans" in my present and past living episodic experiences, especially women. On this fast-approaching Mother's Day observation in America, I feel compelled to write about three delightful, virtuous females, namely my grandmother, aunt and mother.

Though they are no longer among the living, these illustrious ladies are like "queens" in my reflective constellation of thoughts because they showed me what love, respect and discipline was (and is) all about.

I don't know where I would be today if it weren't for God Alone creating these females, a trio of interconnected examples of old fashioned African-American unity, demonstrating that tender, loving caring was more than an isolated concept to talk about. They practiced it.

First, I have to begin with my grandmother whose name was Mamie. She was a native born South Carolinian, who stood tall and who raised all of her sons and daughters to revere respect for all their fellow "hue-man" beings with a quiet elegance that you don't find today and, if you did, you'd celebrate that discovery with esteemed accolades.

My grandmother, on my mother's side of the family, was a beautiful Black woman who lived to teach everyone in her midst what loving God and treating "hue-mans" with dignity was all about. Grandma Mamie was a refined light for me to know because she taught me that sharing and caring for others was a reality and not an impossibility.

She was "the" unquestioned "queen" in my developing "colored" world of learning. Her life was perfumed with gentleness and love for all.

Secondly, I have to speak on the lady, who if I ever had to say influenced me as much as my own mother and grandmother, it would have to be my mom's older sister, Eva.

Writing about this lady brings chills to my senses as I now attempt to put consequential words to print in describing another important Black woman from the "colored" America of my youth who knew what being a supportive female was all about in and during the hardships of America's sordid early 20th century racism.

Some ethnic "colored" folk tend forget that living and surviving in segregation was hard on the Black woman, just as it was on the Black man, in order to maintain and keep a family unit together. Aunt Eva was a quietly passionate and caring soul who did and she always seemed to be my mother's confidant and protector from near and afar as they advanced into adulthood. Her life was aromatic.

Forever a sympathetic and clever "queen" herself, my dear Aunt Eva typified what an aunt was about. She was like a sagacious captain in charge of whatever Grandma Mamie "authorized" for her, my mother and their siblings to do at my grandmother's directives. Some things about her I'll never forget. Her scent and wisdom lingers still.

For example, I remember to this day what my Aunt Eva said to my mother, in support of me, when she let her little sister (my mom) know that my religious ascendency and name change was my choice and not hers.

This was done with an enlightened and softhearted embrace for both my mother and me. All this occurred while my aunt was going through serious health and bodily challenges in New York during the latter years of her life. This lady was something else.

Aunt Eva's outspoken and glowing support of me was like a breath of welcomed fresh air because she was "real" in support of and respect for me.

I wonder, as I wonder, do you know what having the support of a real "hue-man," who had your back covered during difficult and unexpectedly trying times in your life, really means?

I do and it can leave a lasting memorable mental scent on your heart, mind and thoughts. Such was what my Aunt Eva left on my heart and soul with sweetness. I love and miss her fragrant presence to this very day.

My aunt was a notable Black woman, who loved God and was one of "My Three Roses," a self-coined phrase that I lovingly call the "queens" who helped shaped my life.

"My Three Roses," being the above mentioned applauded "Afro-queens" in my life, would talk to each other alone and never would a word slip from their mouths that would betray their private solidarity bond of ebony sisterhood and trust.

That was a way of life in the yesteryear of Black "Our-Story" that I remember with warmth and endearment. Again, Black women are something else and I say that with nothing but respect.

Now, I want to finally speak to you about the African-American "queen " who was my mother. Her name was Margaret and she was my heart, and if you've read any of my articles that have appeared in this paper or attended any of my lectures, you know the special place she has in my worlds of consciousness. Her fragrant presence lingers in my life like the smell of her tenderness on my soul.

Hopefully, honing in on your sense of recall about having a reflective knowledge about some of my past columns, you know that my mother was a God fearing lady and an honored schoolteacher, who cherished being a servant of the Creator and practiced love and respect for all of creation.

All of this was visible in my life, and I strongly believed this lifelong philosophy came through her early teachings and upbringing from "the" original "queen," my Grandma Mamie.

My mother was the one who taught me to never accept the false sayings about who and what "colored" folk were and are. In a humble sense of being educated, I have to say that she was the spark behind my rebellious inquiry about learning, collecting and maintaining Black "Our-Story" to the degree that it has affected my global perspective of myself and Africans universally.

I love the poignant smell that the memories of my mother has upon my psyche, even to this very day. She was a faithful strength unto herself and her courage was exemplified when my father died when I was freshman at Howard University in the early '60s. I wanted to quit school and hit the streets of Harlem running, never knowing what my uncertain future and life would be.

To my mother's determination and her "Three Roses" discipline, she said she was having none of that. She said with God's help, we'd make it through this period because God would see us through this trail. I did graduate and I owe it to my mother's vision and faith in the Creator to see us through the rough sides of life's mountains.

In many ways, that determined mind-set of my mother has been passed on to me, and I've been pressed to learn many "other" lessons in life the hard ways because my mother, the third of my "queens" wasn't there to guide me as she did in my earlier years.

It's a funny thing, but over the last two decades since my mother died in the late '80s. I've heard others in Black and other ethnic communities share the exact sentiments.

Maybe, as I think of what Mother's Day is really supposed to be about, I can't help but say to all the universal and global mothers of creation that you all are possessors of the most wholesome scent that love, in "hue-man" form, that God Alone has created for you to give. You exude an essence of caring, nurturing, sharing, concern and respect that says profoundly that you are what life is all about.

To all the mothers of creation with dutiful recognition, you are all "queens" and I salute you on this day and all other days of the year that the Creator Alone gives you.

May God Alone grant you continued spiritual happiness and rewards on this special occasion never forgetting that to emit "The Lasting Scents of Queens" is what you do best.

For today and always, that's,"As I See It."


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