“U Shaped Me” (Ode to “Ma”)

My father informed who I should and would be as a man; my mother shaped my mind and the vision I would operate with in this world. 

“You are more than a church musician.”

She didn’t make that statement because she disapproved of people who were church musicians. My mom was just challenging me by saying that because I showed talent in one arena didn't meant that I didn’t possess talent in other arenas, and that I should not limit myself. Interestingly enough, when my mother made that statement, she had never been to a jazz concert, symphony, musical theatre show or even created music herself outside of the church. She just had the foresight and knowledge to know that  my talent had a far greater potential than where I was at the time.”

“Speak clearer and learn to speak up for yourself; your father and I won’t always be there to help you.”

I remember when I first started to perform, I felt like I was being mistreated and not being paid for my work as a young musician. I went home to my mom and dad and told them about it, and my mom said to me, “Why did you wait all this time to do something about it? You have to learn to stop hiding behind your shyness and speak up for yourself.”

“You can’t just be talented, you have to be smart too; the world doesn’t need a dumb musician.”

I remember starting to “smell myself” because people were actually starting to see my talent, but I was slipping in school when it came to my grades and not really applying myself. My mother told me that there are tons of talented people living on the street, and I had to use my mind because talent wasn’t enough. 

“No one has the power to tell you who you will be but God.”

I remember in 7th grade I had a terrible math teacher who saw my struggles and essentially told me that I would never go to college. My mother and father went to my school, and I remember my mother saying to him, “You don’t have the power to tell my son what he can and can’t be.” That let me know that I had the power in my tongue to speak blessings in my life, overriding anyone who disagreed. 

“Promotion comes from God.”

My mother would always say this to my sister, and I and we would both laugh, because we thought it was just something really “churchy” she would say. It’s not until our lives matured that we truly began to understand that as you work harder, God will reward your faithfulness and you can’t make it happen on your own. It’s through his power that we increase and expand. 

On this special day, I thank my mom for not only being a great mother to my sister and I, but also shaping my mind and how I view the world as a King because I was raised by a Queen!

U shaped Me!