As I watched Nicole Beharie’s graceful and honest portrayal of this beautiful, overbearing and loving mother, I can’t help but think about my own.
Turquoise is beautiful, intelligent, nurturing, unapologetic. All heart. As a teen in small town Texas she had the honor of wearing the crown as Miss Juneteenth. A pageant that corresponds with the liberation day of Black people who were enslaved in the United States. To be clear, It’s not just a holiday. Juneteenth is a celebration of the ancestors and a reminder of how far Black people have come in this country. The fight still remains.
Kai, Turquoise’s beautiful, charismatic, and insightful daughter. When she’s not at school, hanging out with friends or working on dance routines (her true passion), she’s obliging her mother’s desire for her to become the present day Miss Juneteenth. A desire that Kai does not share. This is a constant battle between the two. Turquoise works tirelessly at a local bar with little to no help from her partner (Kai’s father), and she is left with the role as the sole provider for the family. Like my mother, Turquoise will do anything for her daughter and won’t let any obstacles stand in her way as well as Kai’s.
As the pageant approaches, you begin to see the fire inside Turquoise reigniting. She is not just living vicariously through her daughter during preparation, but she’s also rediscovering herself and her purpose. She’s accepting who she is and in that acceptance seeing this beautiful being that she raised come into her own as a young beautiful Black woman that has a mind of her own. As an adult, stories like this help me realize why my mother had such huge ambitions for my life and where that came from and finally coming to ease when self discovery arises for the both of us. It’s a stunning depiction about a mother’s love and accepting self love.
Bravo, Channing Godfrey Peoples! Thank you for the reminder of the importance of Black mothers and Black women and just how beautiful we are as Black people. We are more than just a struggle story. We can prevail when it comes to our own narrative.