It’s Saturday and time for my workshop. I am presenting with Mrs. Deepa Ra from India. She’s the Director of the Manford Institute, which helps companies resolve conflict.
I speak first and talk about the need to create cultural cues that help guide youth toward marriage. I tell the story of life in the US where once upon a time there where societal signals that led young people to consider marriage. I shared with them that children used to sing, “Michael and Janice sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Janice with the baby carriage.”
That simple song gave an order to the way things were supposed to go. It told children without telling them that first there was love, then there was marriage and then there was a baby carriage.
Old school music reinforced that idea. Songs by the Temptations, the Supremes, Aretha Franklin and the O’Jays sang of love with responsibility. Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers sang, I am Your Man. “Now my life can begin for I am your man.” Brenda Holloway said, “Baby, I’m Yours.”
American culture supported the institution of marriage and the Black community had high rates of marriage. My audience, a mix of people from around the world, was captivated by what I was saying. It was breaking news for them.
I went on to say that things changed in the late 60’s and 70’s. The cultural cues began to disappear. Sex began to sell everything and the message of sex without responsibility began to take over. The song changed. Today it's first comes sex, then the baby carriage, there is no love and little chance for marriage.
I spoke at Morehouse College November 19 and asked the young men to name a song for me where a Black man is saying to a Black woman that he loves her. They looked at me in amazement. They couldn’t name one, not one song.
I shared this with my audience who were increasingly horrified at our condition. I speak on our plight constantly with mixed reviews but it wasn’t until I experienced the reaction of people from abroad who could not even comprehend such a condition in a people did I realize just how really, really bad our situation is.
Marriage and family are what adults do to build their society and continue their legacy. There are famous families around the world; there are even famous criminal families. These families of note are comprised of husband, wives and children. There are no famous single parent families.
I was asked questions like, what is the problem, why don’t Blacks want to get married, why don’t they understand the importance of marriage and family? The answers were too complicated for them to understand, racism, destruction of the Black man, white supremacy, high incarceration rates and the list goes on and on.
The session made my work even more necessary and important. This is the time and what must be done as Minister Farrakhan has said.