‘I love the video you posted on Facebook of that black woman,’ says Mum.
Not sure which video she’s referring to, Mum pulls out her iPad, then and there, wanting to watch it again, this time with me.
As the clip plays, I stand behind her watching her reflection in the screen as Maya Angelou speaks. I see Mum’s heart in her eyes as she mouths the words revealing the repetitive viewings that must have already taken place.
Ms. Angelou says,
“There’s an African American song, 19th century, which is so great.
It says, ‘when it looked like the sun wasn’t going to shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds’.
And I’ve had so many rainbows in my clouds.
I had a lot of clouds.
But I have had so many rainbows.
And one of the things I do when I step up on the stage, when I stand up to translate, when I go to teach my classes, when I go to direct a movie, I bring everyone who has ever been kind to me with me. Black, white, asian, spanish speaking, native american, gay, straight, everybody.
I say ‘come with me. I’m going on the stage. Come with me. I need you now.’
Long dead, you see.
So I don’t ever feel like I have no help.
I’ve had rainbows in my clouds.
And the thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so that you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you, may not call God the same name you call God, if they call God at all. You see? And may not eat the same dishes prepared the way you do, may not dance your dances, or speak your language.
But be a blessing to somebody.
That’s what I think.”
Mum looks back up at me.
‘Isn’t she beautiful?’ she says, crying.