The Duchess of Sussex continues to bask in motherhood with a heartfelt post on Instagram. There’s more to the photo, however, than just a celebration of motherhood.
It is also a celebration of Black women.
The text of the post features a quote of the poem “Lands” by Black poet Nayyirah Waheed. The poem functions thus as a celebration of a Black artist that Markle has quoted before, and also quietly reminds the world of a crisis that continues to plague Black mothers across the Western world: the extremely high rates of mortality for Black women giving birth.
“Paying tribute to all mothers today - past, present, mothers-to-be, and those lost but forever remembered. We honor and celebrate each and every one of you,” reads the post.
Markle first paid tribute to Waheed on her now-deleted personal Instagram by posting one of her poems and writing, “To always knowing your worth” for International Women’s Day in 2017. Markle has continued to uplift Black artists by wearing Black designers, and by making her Blackness front and center at the Royal Wedding, which featured a Black gospel choir, a Black Pastor, and a Black cellist.
It therefore doesn’t feel like a reach to say that Markle is aware of the current health crisis facing Black mothers in the US. Several high-profile Black women, including Serena Williams and Beyoncé, have spoken out about the physical strain that came with the birth of their children. Markle’s choice to quote a Black poet thus feels like a silent but timely salute to the issue facing every Black mother.
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Paying tribute to all mothers today - past, present, mothers-to-be, and those lost but forever remembered. We honor and celebrate each and every one of you. Today is Mother’s Day in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya, Japan, and several countries across Europe. This is the first Mother’s Day for The Duchess of Sussex. Quote from “lands”: my mother was my first country; the first place i ever lived. Photo © SussexRoyal