Not Yo Mama’s Motivational Speech Malaika Salaam


soundtrack Bodak
Yellow, Cardi B.

don’t bother with these hoes, don’t let these hoes bother me”

 I’m the
parent of a car rider, which means that my child gets a ride to school every
day. Some days I take her and some days my partner takes her. She likes the
days I take her best. FACTS. Because I am a Motivational Speaker. She knows on
the days that I take her, I will play some music, we will have a conversation,
and I will leave her with a nugget of wisdom before she departs and remind her
to Go Be GREAT!

this Friday was no different.

it. St. Petersburg Florida.  2017. The SO
and I return from the gym and the Chôclät Girl Wŭnda is supposed to come out,
when The SO goes in. The SO comes out after a couple of minutes and tells me
that CGW was not awake and has flown out of bed and is scrambling to get ready.
Less than 10 minutes later (record High School Girl’s time) the CGW comes
racing out of the house, barreling towards the Prius, juggling backpack, supplies,
edge control and brush (because yes, she still must get her afro puff together
on the 5 minute or so ride to school). I am exasperated from watching the

I look over and
sensing that she needs motivation, I fly into action. I ask her how she is
doing this morning. She responds, “I set my alarm. It didn’t go off or I didn’t
hear it. My phone came off the charger and is dead. This day hasn’t started
like I wanted it to. I don’t know how it’s going to go.” Being me, I cut to the
chase, give her the look… She looks back, disheveled and gathering her edges
and nods. I ask THE QUESTION, signaling IT’S ABOUT TO GO DOWN, “Music?” “YES,
please!” She responds and less than a second later the beat drops…and “ It’s
Cardi, ayyyy!” And together we sing…


“Said, “Lil bitch, you
can’t fuck with me if you wanted to”
These expensive,
these is red bottoms, these is bloody shoes

I don’t dance now, I
make money moves.
Say I don’t gotta dance, I make money move
If I see you and I
don’t speak, that means I don’t fuck with you…”

Yes, volume up to max, heads bobbing
hard, flailing our arms (but you know rhythmically)… The music skips and she
calls the Prius racist (she swears the Prius conspires to jack up only the
black music we listen too)… We get into a brief discussion about racism and her
intensive performing arts program and being a minority in a program at a
predominantly black school. We talk microaggressions, overly peppy white girls,
and the angry black woman trope. She is affected and I am compelled to remind
her who she is and Cardi B. is the background and vehicle for this reminder.

If in the canon of Secular Saints,
Trina is the Patron Saint of Baddest Bitches, then Cardi B. is surely the Patron
Saint of Paid Hoes!

“They see pictures, they say,
“Goals,” bitch, I’m who they tryna be”


No, really. Who doesn’t like a good
underdog-overcoming story. Isn’t that our story, collectively as Black people
in America? I mean we come from some resilient stock. We didn’t just survive
being kidnapped, stripped of our humanity, interned on prison work farms,
psychologically, physically, emotionally, sexually abused… No, we thrived, we
created and kept traditions. We devised under deplorable conditions to have
intentional family. We married and we procreated by choice. Now ain’t that
something?! Yet, we walk out into this world every day and leave the sanctity
and safety of our homes and families and feed ourselves into the machine. We
resist, we do everything we can to show up and not be swallowed whole, when
everything around us is telling us that WE ARE NOT. Not human, not beautiful,
not worthy, not valuable and a inexhaustive list of NOTS.

 What Cardi B. reminds us is that WE ARE! And
those little bitches… all the lil bitches, the lil systemic racism bitches, the
lil racist, xenophobic, oppressive presidential bitches, the lil program
bitches, the lil naysaying bitches, and lil annoying, privileged, classmate
bitches can’t FUCK WITH US, even if they wanted to. And they do, the do want
to. They tell us and show us every day. And WE ARE our ancestor’s wildest
dreams. We do stand on the shoulders of the ones who came before us and we
stand tall, so of course they want to knock us down. They want us to think we
are not, so we will stop crushing our goals. Think about it, Venus and Serena
have ruled the tennis courts for 2 decades, two Black girls from Compton, CA on
the courts with their Professional Black Girl aesthetics, ruling and reigning
in their sport. 


We show up, stand out, and show out. That is the stock that we
come from and it is incumbent upon us to remember that.  Nobody is responsible for reminding us or for
our self-esteem, worth, and value (Katt Williams said it best). Now go out
there and BE GREAT!

In the student drop off line, with goosebumps
raised all over, I look at the Chôclät Girl Wŭnda and ask her if she is ready
for her day now. Her eyes lit, her shoulders squared, her crown adjusted, she
says “Hell Yeah! Mom you are the best Motivational Speaker ever!”  She exits the car, I turn Bodak Yellow on
full volume and ride out.


“Said, I’m the shit, they can’t fuck with me
if they wanted to"

(This blog was inspired with by my
daughter’s Chôclät Girl Wŭnda and Nunchux. Nunchux who got the speech later
that day and said, “So Mom, when will I see this in writing.”)


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