“Set in a middle-class African American neighborhood in Washington, D.C., the program revolved around the character Clifton Curtis (played by Clifton Davis), a man in his mid-20s who worked as a barber at Oscar’s Barber Shop, the family barbershop he had inherited from his late father.
While Clifton enjoyed being a bachelor, his loving but tarttongued and opinionated mother, Eloise “Mama” Curtis, played by Theresa Merritt, wanted him to settle down and find a nice wife.”
You realize that “That’s My Mama” was once a television show if you’re old enough. So you may not have needed the description provided by Wikipedia.
That’s My Mama” got a remake in the mid-1980s. ABC reset Fred Berry (Rerun) and his crew as “What’s Happening Now,” so ABC replicated it with “That’s My Mama Now.”
Both iterations of the show were a bit of a spoof. The question today though is where the mamas are nowadays. Who and where are the daddies, the grandparents? Too many of our kids are just out of control.
All over the nation, we are constantly stunned by the images of students running roughshod over teachers, administrators, and school security personnel. Unfortunately, the recent videos from Desoto High are the talk of the town. The scenes were disheartening.
DeSoto, per capita, is among the five most affluent Black neighborhoods/enclaves/communities in the nation. The 2020 Census reported that DeSoto had a population of 52,190. It is the 70th largest city in Texas and the 759th largest city in the United States.
The average household income in DeSoto is $85,443, with a median house value of $169,800. The median age in DeSoto is 38.9 years, 37.8 years for males, and 39.9 years for females. Those numbers are higher than average, especially for a city that is 70% African American.
The concept of the best and the brightest has never sat well with me. Dr. W.E.B. DuBois and his theories about the Talented Tenth are noble but filled with flaws. But I do side with the Bible passage that says, “To whom much is given much is required.”
That being said…
As a former longtime resident and taxpayer, it galls me most to see what’s happening in DeSoto. These kids don’t live in poverty or squalor. They don’t know what it means to miss a meal, do without the necessities, or wonder why the lights, water, and gas have been shut off.
DeSoto has the potential to be the model for urban living in the United States. DeSoto is a community that bears testimony to the value of education, hard work, and drive. People around the nation are attracted to solid, well-managed school systems. DeSoto must reclaim that reputation.
For the most part, DeSoto’s problems arise among overly-pampered, wannabee gangsters who mimic what they see on Tik Tok or Twitter. Too many of our children gravitate to the glamorized “street legacies” of thug life and hard times.
Sadly, the spiraling spate of unwarranted shootings we are seeing in urban centers says that our village is broken.
Our boys buy guns because they aren’t strong enough to take an ass whipping like men. Few brothers over 40 years of age can tell you that they never had a fight or won every scuffle. Disagreements happen and can be settled without lethal weapons.
The public embarrassment and an unsightly Black eye will subside. However, the private pain of watching your son receive a life sentence at the hand of a judge or by another gun-wielding teen lasts a lifetime.
I wholeheartedly believe and can honestly say that if you are a Black man over the age of 30 and have not been to prison, you probably had a mother or parents who took charge and responsibility.
Black mothers would “go upside your head” no matter how old or how big and buffed you got back in the day.
All Black moms then sang from the same sacred hymnal. They sang their own Negro Spirituals. “Negro if you ever get big enough to whip me, you better let me win. Boy, if you touch me in your dreams, you better wake up and apologize.”
If you ever see a short well-aging woman named Patricia, that’s my mama. And I am walking on this side of the graveyard, without an orange jumpsuit because of her.
Our children need us…Badly!
Vincent L. Hall is an author, activist, and an award-winning columnist.