feature: ‘on my own’ docu takes a look at single mothers in the black community

June 4, 2014

On My Own is a documentary by Rachel Bradshaw on single parenting in the African American community. Bradshaw was prompted to work on the film after a conversation with one of her close friends who became a single mother at the age of 21.
“She was telling me about a conversation that she had with her son’s father and she said to him you don’t know how your son is clothed, fed or sheltered and I’m having a hard time doing this by myself…. His response was I know that you got it.”
Bradshaw said she believes a weak family structure equates to a weak community.
The documentary explores the historical and present day cyclical effects of single parent households in the African American community.

By Priscilla Ward, AFROPUNK Contributor *

According to a 2012 report by the National Census, 55 percent of black children are likely to be raised in a single parent household. “We want the black community to get to the point where there is real wealth building, and social progress”, says Bradshaw.
“We need to lean on legislatures and let them know that family is important to the black community. We need to let them know that on their agendas of what they are doing for our communities, they need to be helping us strengthen our families.”
Bradshaw said she believes there are some characters in our community who need to be celebrated for their example of family.
“I always said that the number one person who can propel the message of family in the hip-hop community is Ice Cube. He has been married for 20 years. He has no children outside of his marriage. We have never heard anything contentious or unstable about his marriage. He has always shown that he is a family man. LL Cool J is another one. He has always been a family man.”
Bradshaw said she believes it’s important that we accept that there is an issue, and we all need to take personal responsibility for it.
Bradshaw is the founder of Little Harriet Productions and hopes to continue to work on films that shed light on the issues that are impacting the African American community. “I have sort of become the traditional family expert.” She said her next film will focus a little bit more on the poor. On My Own will make stops in all five New York boroughs this summer.

“Through conversations with single mothers, fathers, community leaders and family experts, the documentary offers another facade to the one-sided image of single motherhood.”

* Priscilla Ward is a DC native and microwaved New Yorker. She enjoys keeping an active pulse on the arts, entertainment and cultural scenes of DC, New York and Philadelphia. She also freelances for Brooklyn Exposed and MadameNoire,com She aspires to one day have her own cartoon. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Macaronifro.