Momma Toni is gone.
When I first saw it on Facebook, my knee jerk reaction was to post a sorrowful message about how much she meant to me.
But since my father’s death and as I grapple daily with the loss of him, the hashtags #RIH or #RIP don’t seem sufficient.
Yes, Momma Toni was the first Black woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature. And, yes, she won a Pulitzer. But as the conduit of “The Bluest Eye,” “Song of Solomon,” and “Beloved,” Toni Morrison was more than just our celebrated matriarch of literature — She was the embodiment of words.
And words, Fam, are seeds.
Since the back to back mass shootings in El Paso, TX, and Dayton, OH, I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of words.
Now, I’m not what you call a religious person. But I had a praying great-granny that raised me in the Baptist Church, and often when my spirit is vexed, I turn to the first book that fed my soul as writer.
The Bible says in Proverbs 15:4 that “Gentle words bring life and health; A deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
I would not disagree that we have the most deceitful tongue ruling in the White House right now. And the venom he spews from his bully pulpit is a dark reflection of us that is spiritually crushing our nation and empowering hatred.
With each tweet, he plants a seed. And his seeds – fertilized by anger, pain and fear – have taken root and overgrown into weaponized weeds.
That’s the bad news.
The Good News? “Gentle words bring life and health.” And Momma Toni devoted her entire being to birthing life and health with her words.
She was light. She was truth. And she courageously and purposefully employed her words to tell the stories that she wanted to tell the way she wanted to tell them.
I, like so many of you, was blessed to read her books. And I was grateful to see myself, my sister, momma, grandma and granny reflected in her words.
And her words, her seeds – fertilized by turmoil, tenacity and triumph – took root and flourished into a resilient garden that continually grows in me.
Momma Toni knew the power of her words, Fam. And you’re deceiving yourself if you don’t believe 45 doesn’t know the power of his words, too.
The question is who do you want to emulate? A menace who sows seeds of death? Or a soul that sowed seeds of life?
The answer, Fam, is up to you.