In the fury over the murder of George Floyd, writer and African cultural ambassador Malena Amusa published a book she says will powerfully nourish and heal the hearts of black men and boys.
“As a mother and African woman, I felt Floyd’s cries for mama deep in my soul,” Amusa said. “Like so many people, I dropped to my knees to pray harder than a Baptist pastor. Suddenly, I began dreaming of what the original mother of us all, Mama Afrika, would say to Floyd and all of her sons of Africa. I wanted desperately to speak her words of encouragement for I knew she has dwelled in the souls of black men since the beginning and throughout time. I wanted to know how she felt when her sons were ripped from her shore during slavery and how the feels today. I wanted to tap that deep spiritual nurturing that only an immortal, primordial mother could offer her wounded and traumatized children.”
The result of Amusa’s dream was Son of My Shore: Mama Afrika’s Prayer to Black Men. It is a Christian-rooted prayer book that combines African spirituality to achieve a resonate, “blood-level” experience, Amusa explained. “The prayers in the book are highly rhythmic and lyrical. They are rooted in the African tradition of praise songs and affect not just your intellect but the vibration that courses through your very veins,” she noted. “These type of prayers go beyond words and into the realm of molecule-rearranging energy and healing.”
Speaking directly to her sons of Africa, Mama Afrika says in the book:
You see Son, I watched you all along as you carried your heart on your back
So when you climbed that hill and parted those forestry nights
Your fears could not reach your proud chest
I watched you conquer that hill
and instead of falling, you deepened the creative footprints of resilience, and won
And alas, dear Son!
You strive now only to outdo yourself!
For at any given moment
You are your best self
While these words flow effortlessly off the page, it took Amusa two excruciating weeks and many sleepless nights to complete the text. “I started writing three days after the Floyd killing and literally could not close my laptop. Not once!” she said. “Toward the end, I almost gave up though. My energy was so low, I cried myself to sleep.” Also during the writing journey, Amusa attended a protest in Brentwood, Missouri where a White man in a truck ambushed the peacefully gathering crowd. That experience nearly brought her to a breaking point. But instead of losing steam, she vowed to push forward and finish the book. Amusa also tapped the talent of two writers from Nigeria to help with the content and rhythm of the prayer. “There is an irrepressible African spirit in these lines that just makes your soul jump,” Amusa said. For example, in one of Mama Afrika’s final prayers, she says:
Whatever you are building, you will inhabit it
Whatever you are planting, you will reap its fruits
I pray that you will not be wasted in a strange land
And that you will rejoice over your bountiful harvests
Amusa reflected also on the importance of prayer in the movement for justice. “I’ve heard some people say, ‘Okay, enough praying. Time for action.’ But what they don’t realize is that poetry and prayer were mainstays of the Civil Rights Movement. Yes, we must fight, but it is just as important to take that pause and refuel the spirit with healing and hopeful messages,” she said.
Published ahead of Father’s Day, Amusa implores black families to experience this book which is currently available on Amazon Prime for purchase. “I had the goal of selling at least 1,000 books but after reading it to my partner, he said I need to go for at least 1 million,” Amusa said. “He literally jumped up and said that every Black man should have this prayer. So our goal is now 1 million.”
When Amusa asked her partner what he liked about it, he mentioned the prayer made him feel as if he could do even more and be even more, and that gave Amusa the confidence to go forth and share this book with the world.
“In this movement for justice, we must continue to pour revolutionary love into our brothers, fathers, husbands and sons, as well as our sisters, mothers and daughters,” Amusa said. “No matter the calamity, black people have a great place in destiny and we must nurture that unflinchingly.”
Son of My Shore: Mama Afrika’s Prayer to Black Men is Malena Amusa’s first published book. To learn more, please visit Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08B73YW78.