Aftershock (2022) Movie Script

I just wanted to illustrate
how over-the-top my daughter is
in every aspect of her life.
Shamony's hyper. She's crazy.
She does everything with force.
She's loud.
She brushes her teeth like
the teeth did something to her.
Bed-Stuy do or die.
Ah ah ah ah
Would you make a, make a,
make a wish on my love?
Ah ah ah ah
So we got to run.
Oh lord. I don't need to warm up.
I got this. I got this. Why you laughing?
Would you make a, make a
This crazy man
got me running too much.
Would you make a, make a,
make a wish on my love?

SHAMONY: How does it feel
for me to be moving out?
- Uh, okay.
Same day, different apartment.
I'm making a list.
I told Shamony to make 20 lists before.
- The thing is that both Omari
and I have pregnancy brain, right, O?
- Yeah, we do.
SHAMONY: It's clearly you.
Oh goodness.
So your baby going to be
Moses Maynard Gibson?
No, I'm kidding. Moses Maynard?
On all the things you can't see
Make a wish
on all that lives within thee
If you're foolishly in love with me
It's a fine day for sure
Taste the fruit of me
Make love to all you see
Ah ah ah ah
Would you make a, make a,
make a wish on my love?
Ah ah ah ah
Would you make a, make a,
make a wish on my love?
Ah ah ah ah
Would you make a, make a,
make a wish on my love?
[baby giggles, babbles]
- Say hi.
[indiscernible conversation]

Hey, baby.
Time is flying.
Four months already.
Every day is a new process.
You wake up like, "Oh my god,
I'm that much closer
to being a mom again."
Would you make a, make a,
make a wish on my love?
Ah ah ah ah
Would you make a, make a,
make a wish on my love?
Ah ah ah ah
Would you make a, make a,
make a wish on my love?
You're running
And I try
- Hi, sweet baby.
So I am... What?
I can't say sweet baby?
Who're you talking to?
- I'm talking to Khari.
- So, um--
Yes, my plan was
to have you at home,
so maybe your auntie
will record.
And I can still have you
at home.
We have three hours from now.
But, however,
it doesn't always work, right?
So if you were born tomorrow--
It's been four months
and three days
since she passed away.
You know, it feels like
it was last week.
- Greetings, family.
I didn't know all of this
beautifulness was behind me.
I'm so blown away and so appreciative
and so humbled by your presence.
So, um, this is my daughter's birthday.
She would've been 31 years old today,
and she loved to plan things and to party,
so we're having
this celebration on her behalf.
This is a celebration of life,
but also it's about how Shamony
has been speaking
to all of us in our family
and extended community
since she passed.
About an hour ago,
I started to, to falter.
Um, and I won't even call it falter.
I'm just experiencing my grief,
you know.
WOMAN: Alright, so how you want us
to line up, cousin?
Um, family first?
Can I get family, age order please?
If you soar
Over the lowest valley
Then you can manifest
All there is
To dream your dream
[indiscernible chatter]
It's a struggle every day,
particularly because
what happened with Shamony
was absolutely preventable.
She ended up with a C-section.
My baby.
My baby that I've been waiting
forever for.
You did amazing, Shamony.
So we leave the hospital.
Within the first week,
she was complaining
about having shortness of breath
when she talked.
She walked down the stairs
to get something.
And when she was trying to get back up,
she couldn't move.
Like, she was just, she had
to just lay on the floor for a while.
We called the hospital,
telled them what the symptoms were.
The doctor said, you know,
"It's okay. Just relax."
That proceeded for the next two weeks.
We go back to the hospital
for, um, Shamony
so that they could remove
her staples from her C-section.
I was again telling them
what the symptoms were.
Asking them what are some things
that we can do.
And, you know, the answer pretty much
was the same every time.
"Just makes sure
that she rests."
There wasn't much of a sense
of urgency on their part at all.
SHAWNEE: That's the expert,
and I'm not a doctor,
so okay.
I rallied people
to make meals for her.
I did what we do!
Just take care of her.
Two weeks after, you know, she gave birth,
Shamony was complaining
that she had really sharp chest pains.
She says, "I want to go
to the hospital now."
Her mom and her aunt were
in the back with her.
And as I'm packing the bag,
I just hear them screaming and screaming,
"Omari, Omari,
come in here. Come in here."
So I run in there,
and then I just see Shamony is,
she's just in shock.
[siren wailing]
The ambulance came.
It seems like forever,
but it was only minutes.
And I immediately started talking to them
about what was happening.
Like, "She just had a C-section."
I'm telling them the symptoms.
- You know, they kept asking me,
they kept asking her mother,
"Is she on any drugs
or anything like that?
Was she taking any drugs?"
Like, "No, she doesn't take drugs."
- Next set of people come in.
"Is she on drugs? Does she use drugs?"
I just told your colleagues.
I'm telling you.
Then another round
of people come in,
"Is she on drugs?"
I'm like, "Do y'all talk?"
OMARI: They finally take her
in an ambulance to the closest hospital.
- That was not the place
where I would want
my daughter to be sent ever.
There was no money
in that hospital.
They didn't have
what they needed to care for her.
They had been divested from.
OMARI: They eventually figured
it was a pulmonary embolism.
But all they could do there
is give her blood thinners
and hope that the blood clot
would pop.
We waited, you know, and it was,
I want to say, a solid 12 hours.
JASMINE: So many people
were showing up at the hospital,
just standing in the hallway,
praying, praying, praying
like, you know, putting it out there
that she was going to,
some-- a miracle was gonna happen.
- And I'm watching this
while watching my daughter in distress.
And just thinking, if they
would have listened to her
during that postpartum time,
it wouldn't have come
to this point.
JASMINE: My cousin comes
in the room and she's like,
"She's gone."
Everybody just fell apart.
[long beep]
There's just so many levels
of frustrations that come,
you know,
and just understanding
the scope of who we are
and what we look like
and where we live, you know,
and the stereotypes that come
with that, you know.
Having to deal with that on top
of watching your partner pass away,
you know, it's, um,
tough isn't the word,
you know.
It's, it's, it's more than tough.
Let's go downstairs.
You ready? Let's go.

Telling Anari that
her mother passed away was,
it was hard.
She asks about her mother
all the time.

- Anari!
You want to give daddy hugs.
OMARI: Shamony definitely was,
you know, my muse.
- Omari here is going
to be doing my makeup.
[clicks tongue]
- It's going to be money. Go.
Got to start
in the middle, right?
Make sure you put it on
nice and thick.
[Shamony laughing]
OMARI: I've never lived
in this house without her.
There's times
where I wake up,
and I'm just shocked
to be sleeping
in our bed by myself.
[baby crying, fussing]
It's hard adjusting.
I can't believe that Amber
is not going
to be coming back home.
- So this month,
we'll be learning about plants.
So today, I'm going
to demonstrate how to plant.
Organic potting mix,
it's usually good for every kind of plant.
You're gonna need--
I'm using a Mason jar,
but you don't need to use a Mason jar.
You can use whatever you have at home.
This is going to get messy,
so I'm sure the kids will love this.
Let them. If you do have soil at home,
let them experience it, play with it.
Um, it's a good sensory activity
as well--
I can still hear her feet,
stomping her feet and running in.
She, uh, opens the door
and jumps straight on the bed
and starts jumping on me
and pushing me and pulling on me
and waking me up,
uh, and she says
that we're pregnant.
[indiscernible conversations]
AMBER: [screams]
It's a boy.
BRUCE: Amber had such
a pregnant glow to her.
She was just so excited.
BRUCE: During her second
and third trimester,
we started noticing
she was having headaches.
She was getting dizzy,
and she was having
a tough time breathing.
And all of her concerns
were being taken lightly.
"Oh, these are just
pregnancy-related symptoms.
You're okay."
So I took the initiative to search
and do research on midwives and doulas
and stumbled
across Nubia Martin.
Bruce and Amber reached out
trying to switch over
to home birth.
So let's start right here.
WOMAN: Okay.
- She knew something was off,
and she was hoping
that switching to midwifery care
would get to the bottom of that.
Walk your hands--
When they sent
her prenatal records for us to review,
the first thing that jumped out
was the issue with the platelets.
I said this is not right.
You need to go to the hospital.
BRUCE: If the platelet levels go lower
than 150, they need to be monitored.
Her platelet levels had been less
and deteriorating since December.
We're in April.
This is high risk.
The hospital's not bringing this
to our attention at all.
Amber wanted
to write a tell-all
about the care
that she had been receiving.
Finally, they started
paying attention to her
and diagnosed her
with HELLP syndrome.
They could have caught it early,
treated it.
She went into the hospital.
They induced her labor,
and they rushed her into a C-section.
The high-risk doctor just left
my daughter there with some,
uh, a young team there.
BRUCE: They cut her open.
Her blood is water-like at this point.
She's lied open on the table,
bleeding out.
They were neglecting her
until it was way too late.
We thought Montefiore was going
to take care of her.
We had Amber's mother,
who worked there for 25 years.
They gave that statement
that they had a mortality rate
of 0.01 percent.
That's all I got from them.
Amber would've been a wonderful mother.
She was working on her masters.
She wanted to be an art therapist.
She started teaching,
and she loved these kids.
She wanted this so badly,
you know.
She's my only child.
She's all I had.
I'm grateful that she left Elias for us.

What's going on, man?
BRUCE: How you doing, man?
Yo, I got to give you a hug, bro.
Oh, man.
OMARI: I heard about Bruce
and what happened to Amber Isaac.
I just immediately
reached out to him
to just say, "Hey, man, it's a lot.
I know exactly how you feel.
If you need somebody to talk to,
then, you know, here I am."
OMARI: I wanted specifically
to just meet you,
because I know that y'all know
how I'm feeling.
Even if I'm not able to articulate it
the way I want to, like, I know.
- It's like this shit, this shit
is just so, like, surreal sometimes.
Like, I just be thinking, like,
"Damn, this can't be real life."
- You know, I still got that--
I feel like somebody's foot
is in my throat, like--
- Yeah. Yeah.
- Like, that's--
- I know.
I still don't feel like
I've grasped the entire concept
of her not being here
physically, you know.
And of course, there's other people
in our position, you know,
so that's why I feel too,
we can turn our pain into power
and make something
of this, you know.
So, I could either... chill
or I could, you know,
do something, you know.
And I'm taking the position
of doing something
because, you know, that's what I know
that we are here for, you know.
- Yeah. I got to take action
in some way, some way. I got to--
If I'm not doing nothing,
I at least got to study
so I know what I'm fighting against.
You ready to do this?
- Ready when you ready.
- Alright, cool, cool.


OMARI: Just got to keep going.
That's it.
That's all we got to do,
one foot in front of the other.

Come on. come on.
This is it right there, right here.
Amber and Shamony at the finish line.
Come on.

- Woo!

Right in there.
Come on now.
- Hi!
Hey, we matching?
ANITA WARREN: I was aware
that this is a growing epidemic
in our communities,
and that is so upsetting to me.
An alarm has to be sounded about this.
SHAWNEE: I never thought
that this would happen to my family.
- Because I do
reproductive justice work.
- Mm-hmm.
you know, just also,
why wouldn't it?
We're Black and brown.
ANITA: Right. Right.
- You know, she's a woman.
She was having a baby,
so why would we think
we would be exempt?
Because we have the knowledge?
ANITA: Mm-hmm.
- Knowledge doesn't save you
from this epidemic.
That's right.
- Omari, I can't speak for you,
but I'm mourning
growing old
with my daughter.
- Yeah, definitely.
- We were 20 years apart,
and the women in my family
live a long time.
So I anticipated being 90
and her being 70
and getting on each other's nerves
in that space,
you know, um.
So mourning what could have been
is also very real.
- I definitely want
to partner with fathers
who specifically have
suffered loss the way I have
and to get fathers together
to just really talk about
how after, you know, you lose
somebody important,
how the community helps.
- If it's possible to have
this space be one of the hubs
where men gather
and have these conversations,
I especially want it for Black men,
because it's a desert out there
in reference to support.
- You know, this is not something
that is just specific to me
or specific to just a handful of people.
Like, hundreds
and thousands of men
are going through this same,
you know, scenario, situation.
[phone rings]
Look, Daddy.
OMARI: Hello.
- Look.
BOY: [on laptop]
- Good morning.
Is Anthony there?
I'm one of Anthony's math teachers.
This is Anthony.
- Um, so what's going on,
You haven't been really completing
your math assignments,
so I just wanted to see
what was the reason for that?
- I want to do the race car.
- Okay.
ANARI: Race car.
OMARI: Okay, baby.
If you're having some troubles
with your math work,
then you're going to get
in contact with me,
and I'm going to help you out
with it, okay?
OMARI: Alright, awesome.
You have a great day, Anthony.
Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.
You're a little tricky, huh?
You trying to get tricky?
You trying to get tricky?
As I'm trying to get
through day to day,
a handful of men got
in contact with me.
Their partners also passed away.
And it had such an effect on me.
I wasn't by myself.
- Thank you for all the brothers who came,
and I'm definitely grateful,
uh, for what we're able to do,
creating this circle,
you know, with Omari
to support brothers like Omari
and Mustafa
who are in the particular place
where they sit.
- My name's Mustafa Shabazz.
Me and Omari, we're basically going
through the same pain right now.
My lady died.
Like you said, you felt hopeless?
I felt the same way.
I watched her take her last breath
in front of my eyes,
and there was nothing I can do.
I had, I had to go
and get a DNA test
just to take my son
out of the hospital.
They didn't believe
that he was my son.
I said, why would I be here?
Why would I--
Why would I even be here
if this is not my child?
I just, honestly,
I just don't think they care.
MAN: When we stop to think
about maternal mortality,
that's a reality that any of us can face,
and as a father with a daughter,
that's scary for me.
We have to give ourselves
permission to be angry.
And so it's important for us
that we have a space
where I can go
and create the relationships
where we're vulnerable enough
to share in this environment.
- It could be any one of us.
Honestly, man. Like, the tables
just turned so fast,
you know, when you,
you don't have no,
you don't have the control,
you don't have the power.
But with that said, uh,
you could have the support.
You know,
we could support each other,
creating the community
that we want to see,
and the way we want
to see it, you know.
With that community,
I want to create a space
where we can then start to try
to change policy, you know,
and have a thousand,
hundreds of thousands of people
backing what we're saying.
Because that's the only way it works.
Today, we stand in solidarity
with the family of Amber Isaac.
- I can't even believe
we're even here today
about this situation.
Amber was just such
a divine woman.
All she wanted to do
was help people.
And y'all took that from us.
Um, I actually had some stuff
that I had written down
that I want to discuss and that I want
to go over because my mind
WOMAN: It's okay.
- has been everywhere
since this whole situation occurred.
We're supposed to be the most
advanced country in the world,
but the racial disparities
are becoming more
and more evident each day.
Black women are four times
more likely to die
than their white counterparts
with the same symptoms.
The maternal mortality rate
has doubled here in the United States.
It was safer for our parents
to have children
than it is for us today.
- Why is that?
- Welcome, everybody.
I'm Dr. Neel Shah,
and this is
Expecting More Dialogues
which is the new web series
we're kicking off
that is exploring the opportunities,
the challenges, the hopes,
and the lived experiences
of people
who are giving birth
in America right now.
We've invited three
incredible human beings
to be part of this dialogue
that we're going to have today
and to teach me and to teach
all of us about what it is
that we can be doing
about this problem.
So let's start here maybe.
Bruce, um,
tell us what happened.
I'm not sure everybody
out there knows the story.
- Amber was facing negligence
and incompetence
within the medical system.
Down from the OB to the, um,
to the secretary
was being nasty with her.
Down to security.
You know?
The day I took Amber in,
when she was admitted into the hospital,
security at the front telling me,
"Oh, it's okay, Mr. Babydaddy,
go sit down over there.
You can't go up."
everything that Bruce described
in his story
is things that advocates
like myself
and others have been saying
for years, right,
that we have a systemic issue.
And I've said it in, in,
in packed rooms, full of OBs.
You know what I mean? Like, patients,
ultimately, they want to be seen,
they want to be heard,
and they want to know
that someone genuinely cares
about their wellbeing.
NEEL: I think that the wellbeing
of moms is a bellwether
for the wellbeing of society in general.
And that's why every injustice
in our society
shows up in maternal health
and in maternal health outcomes.
In 2018,
journalists started
to tell the stories of people
that were dying in childbirth.
Those stories ended up compelling
the federal government
to start to track maternal mortality
much more systematically.
So 2018 was the first year
we really did that.
I started to read and see
all these trends,
including the explosion
in C-section rates.
We intervene with major surgery
500 percent more
than we used to in the 1970s.
And maternal mortality rates
just fly upwards.
And when it comes to Black women,
those risks are higher.
C-sections do save lives.
I'm trained to do them. I believe in them.
But major surgery is major surgery.
Surgical complications like organ injury,
hemorrhage, infection
are about three times more likely
to happen with a C-section
than a vaginal delivery.
[baby cries]
Oh, it's very cute.
Congratulations to you both.
MAN: Thank you so much.
WOMAN: Thank you.
NEEL: Black women have
a higher rate of C-sections.
Yeah. I would really
encourage you to do that.
I started to think about
my own practice
and how it's possible
that really well-intended people
can be doing racist things.
For example, when Black people
are expressing concern
around pain or other symptoms,
they're heard less.
And in medicine,
we've literally created algorithms
where we've conflated race
and racism.
You can help somebody understand
their odds of having
a successful vaginal delivery
with a calculator.
And if they're Black,
their odds drop.
And it has nothing to do
with who they are or their biology.
The calculator ends up
gatekeeping treatment,
care, and support.
So if you're Black, you're less likely
to get good support
to have the vaginal delivery
that you want.
I've been a midwife 23 years.
I went to Georgetown University.
I have a bachelor's of science in nursing,
and I have a masters
in midwifery education.
Let's see what this baby
is doing today.
[indiscernible conversation]
HELENA: We are trained to let those
that can have births
that happen spontaneously
the way it's always been.
We care for women
in the home, birth centers,
and the hospital space.
The head is still down.
WOMAN: Mm-hmm.
Nice and down.
We follow a shared decision-making model
with the patient,
giving them a lot of options
to choose their path.
So you got everything
prepared for the birth?
I'm here to practice an allowance
for her body to do
what it needs to do
to give birth.
Only six to nine percent of all births
in our country are by midwives.
In Europe,
midwives were integrated
into women's healthcare,
and they're doing better
than our dismal maternal
mortality morbidity rate.
We are higher than the UK,
higher than France,
higher than Germany,
higher than Sweden.
We have the highest rate
of all industrialized nations.
In this country,
as technology has advanced,
childbirth has become
more technologically driven.
In hospitals, by and large,
um, it has not been
a shared decision-making model.
We call it the medical
technocratic patriarchal model.
Pregnancy is
a healthcare challenge to manage.
- We have 9:00 a. m. induction
of a 21-year-old G1, P0
at 39 and three.
We have two inductions,
we have KW
of a 34-year-old G3, P1-0-1-1.
And the other 7:00 p. m. induction is
a CWC Fetal Specialty Clinic patient
who's had a history
of one prior C-section.
Doctors are trained
in active management of labor.
Induce them and get them going
and do all this stuff.
You put her on Pitocin
via the IV
to get the contractions regular.
The goal is every two to three minutes
for your contractions. Okay.
You break the water
and you do things to push her
along the labor curve,
as we call it,
um, to get that baby out.
The thing that she's going
to remember the most
is what happened
during her labor and birth.
Every woman does.
[indiscernible conversations]
HELENA: Women have
to take that back.
Women of color count for nearly 80 percent
of pregnancy-related death in this city.
We are just dragging our feet
on one of the most
serious issues of our time.
We're going to call up
Shawnee B. Gibson.
- I'm a fellow citizen
and mother in mourning
over the loss of my eldest child
whose death could have been prevented.
Today, I act as a vessel
and a conduit
for the voice of my daughter,
Shamony Makeba Gibson,
and the voices of so many
young women of color
just like her.
As a reproductive advocate and leader
in the reproductive health community,
I thought that I would be spared.
I naively believed that my optimism
about how knowledgeable we all were
would shield her from this epidemic.
What I am seeking are systems
and institutions
that are committed to making sure
that we address racism
and anti-Black racism, specifically.
I am here to declare
that my work will not stop.
I am here to hold myself accountable
and to hold those responsible
who knowingly and unknowingly
keep this epidemic going.
I am here to let you know
that Shamony Makeba Gibson lived.
She is alive in this movement,
and she is alive in this moment
as I speak her name,
Shamony Makeba Gibson.
Shamony Makeba Gibson.
Shamony Makeba Gibson.
Thank you for listening.

NEEL: As a professor
at Harvard School of Public Health,
I had an opportunity to travel
to different hospitals across the country,
studying maternal health outcomes.
Oklahoma is a place that has
a maternal mortality rate
that's double the national average.
When you rank every state
in terms of maternal mortality,
they're in the bottom five.
The medical centers
that we're working with in Tulsa
have some of the highest rates of injury
during childbirth in the state.
They take care
of a lot of people of color,
and they have a persistently high
C-section rate.
We're here today
because we think
that we could get
the whole country to reimagine
the care that people should expect
during one of the most important
and vulnerable moments of our lives.
This will only really work
if each and every one of you
believes that this is possible too.
WOMAN: This is triage.
- Hi.
NEEL: Labor and delivery units
in the modern era resemble cardiac ICUs.
The only difference is that
our operating rooms are attached.
We take 99 percent
of people giving birth in America,
we put them in ICUs,
and we surround them by surgeons.
So we see a lot of surgery.
It doesn't take rocket science
to figure it out.
- We get a lot
of laboring patients out here.
NEEL: And how many ORs
do you guys have?
- Two.
NEEL: Are they right on the unit?
- Yes.
NEEL: Yeah.
- Yeah.
NEEL: In a hospital,
the cost of doing a C-section
is lower than the cost
of doing a vaginal delivery.
The shorter that labor is,
the less it will cost.
It is also true though,
that if you do a C-section
the hospital gets paid
about 50 percent more
than if there's vaginal delivery.
You can imagine what kind
of incentives that might set up.
Hey, how are you?
FELICIA: Edwards.
[indiscernible dialogue]
In this state,
Black women represent
ten percent of births,
but we're 20 percent
of the deaths.
And Tulsa is one of
the worst places in the country
to have a baby.
I didn't know.
How are you today?
[indiscernible dialogue]
PAUL ELLIS: Alright. How you doing?
WOMAN: Well, let's take a look at baby.
Let's measure this belly.
[heartbeats thumping]
FELICIA: I called my mom
crying one morning
because the statistics
of being Black having a baby
in America, like, hit me.
Really I hadn't thought about it
until Serena Williams
talked about her birth experience
and she's, like,
the best athlete in the world.
And she had to make them listen
to her about her blood clots.
[indiscernible dialogue]
And then when I started
dealing with myself,
I was like, this is a big deal.
A Black woman
having a baby is like
a Black man in a traffic stop
with the police.
You have to, like,
really pay attention
to what's going on, like,
every step of the way.
There you go.
And in the hospital,
appointments are quick,
they're not intimate.
You don't have time
to build that trust.
WOMAN: Have a good day.
PAUL: You too.
It's going to be hard
to find someone
I'm just comfortable with.
Very early in my career,
I noticed how Black women
were, uh, used
as guinea pigs
in the hospital, um, system.
I became a nurse
in a very elite teaching hospital,
and I started to see things
that just really
don't go along with my philosophy.
If you have private insurance
and you're white,
you have a private physician
who's on call for you.
The clinic population
by and large
tend to be Black and brown women
who have Medicaid,
are treated by resident learners.
Every woman is getting
her vagina cut open.
A woman doesn't need it,
but you cut it
because you need to learn
how to sew.
I'm at a place that is
literally practicing on people.
Black women have been
experimented on
to perfect the profession
of gynecology.
The United States had
a population of enslaved peoples
that they could do what they wanted to,
when they wanted to,
how they wanted to do it.
As a woman, your worth is about
what your womb can produce
for my plantation.
Black women are having
so many children,
they're getting fistulas.
Enter J. Marion Sims.
He's considered
the father of gynecology
who decides that he's going
to figure out how to fix this.
He's fixing it so she can go back
and have more children
so that she, as a commodity,
continues to be useful
for her slave master.
And he cut them open
however many times.
And then there were modules
written about the things
that were done to them
saying, well, they don't feel pain,
but the woman
is literally screaming.
And that's how the United States
becomes a superpower
when it comes
to OB/GYN surgery.
Black women by and large
continue to be cared for
by learners.
It's the marrying
of the over-medicalization
with inexperience
that's really the foundation
when it comes to maternal mortality
and morbidity.
Who is that?
- Mommy.
OMARI: Good. Now show us
your project. Come.
I see it.
ANARI: Let's do it.
Don't spill it!
Look, Mommy.
Wow, that's pretty!
[Omari chuckles]
OMARI: Let me see it.
- Hmm?
Let me see it. Good.
We have pictures of Shamony
up everywhere.
She's always around.
[paint hissing]
Through my artwork,
I'm able to connect with her
in a way that I've never had
since she passed.
It really does help
with how I process.
One day I thought, right now,
I paint one of Amber Isaac,
paint one of Bruce's partner.
I wanted to give him this gift.

- I'm gonna set up over here.

Thank you.
Alright. So the front,
we got to get the front gate.
Hey, how are you?
Good. Good, good, good, good.
BRUCE: I'm sorry.
SHAWNEE: How you feeling?
How you doing?
[Shawnee laughs]
- Hanging in there?
- Sweating bullets, are you?
- I know. I'm here working.
Yeah. I'm here working.
Speaking of the--
Yo, we was just talking about you.
Yeah, I had to--
I got here, like, five, ten minutes ago
but I had to stop and get some coffee.
I knew you were addicted.
OMARI: You got free hands
or somebody to hold your--
Alright. Cool, cool. This is for you.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, man.
Love you, man.
BRUCE: [cries]
Love you, too.
We're doing this together, man.
BRUCE: [over megaphone]
Thank y'all so much for being here.
This is our first event.
We're a little nervous,
but we need to be here.
We need to keep talking
until they're hearing us.
We're tired of saying
that we need justice.
We need change.
We're done asking.
We're demanding.
- Nobody's asking for anything
exorbitant or extravagant
or out of the ordinary.
We just want to make sure
that we have the same
as anybody else.
We are dying at a rate
12 times more in this city.
If these numbers
were flipped around
and white women were dying at the rate
that Black women are dying,
it would be a national crisis.
Why is that not deemed a crisis?
SHAWNEE: This crazy behind system
is killing us.
We call it Aftershock,
because Shamony's death
was like a tsunami.
When Black mothers die,
there's a ripple effect and, yes,
the death is the earthquake.
But the shit afterward
is overwhelming.
The nights where I get up,
and it's like,
"Oh my god, I miss my daughter.
I miss her calling me."
Now I wish she would call me
30 times a day.
After today, taking action,
Shamony lives through me being
an activist and a revolutionary
and the revolution will be tweeted,
Instagrammed, Facebooked.
It will be recorded.
[cheering and applause]
DANA TYLER: Two fathers
are sharing their heartbreak
to draw attention to medical disparities
in Black communities.
Shamony's death was
a direct result of systemic racism.
BRUCE: Within the medical system,
there's been this repetitive pattern.
If Amber would've received standard care,
she would be here.
And that's what he wants now
for every mother of color.
NEEL: Part of what I want
to think through with you all is just
about, like, the messaging.
And I think it's really important
that we name
what the mission is,
which is equity.
It can't be safer for all mothers
until it's safer for Black mothers,
Native mothers.
And so when we talk about equity,
there's folks who have to catch up
before that can even,
like, be a thing.
You know, you can't fix things
that you don't name,
and I do deeply believe that.
We're really, really fortunate
to be working
with a community partner,
LaBrisa Williams,
an extraordinary advocate
for birth justice and birth equity,
is someone that we can
stand shoulder to shoulder with
as we're walking around the hospitals
and trying to build that accountability
to the community
within the health systems.
[indiscernible dialogue]
[elevator dings]
You guys ready to start?
NEEL: Yeah, sure.
WOMAN 2: Yeah.
So we'll gather right over there.
NEEL: We designed a process
that structures communication.
So every person giving birth
has a systematic way of knowing
that what they're expecting,
what they want to know,
what they want to say
is going to get heard.
Everything that we're reading
in the headlines
about maternal mortality
in our country going up,
what people are dying of
is not the clinical condition
on the death certificate.
It's a failure of communication,
teamwork every time.
What Team Birth is about,
it's doing the things
that we already know,
but making sure the people
that we're caring for can see it.
LABRISA: We really focus
on patient experience
and, like, make sure
they feel seen and heard.
That's awesome.
It's a very, very simple idea.
It's a version of
the same dry erase whiteboard
that exists in almost
every inpatient room
in every hospital in America.
Usually, that board is primarily
for nurses to kind of talk
to themselves.
We structured it to have the preferences
of the person giving birth.
And then there's a place
where you write down the next time
the team is going to get back
together again and talk.
- The most important thing
is that we're being transparent
with the patient
about what the plan is.
I'm sure you all have seen
the headlines around maternal mortality.
You've seen the way
that it's been impacting
the people that you're caring for.
So this is about better outcomes,
which is also about
building trust along the way.
When we walk through
Bruce's story,
there's so many examples
of that not happening,
not only not feeling seen
and heard,
but also not being told
what was happening.
That should never happen.
It's Bruce.
- Hello, guys.
What's up, everybody?
Oh, look at the couches.
How's Elias?
- Oh, he's doing good.
I really started talking
to Nubia more
about the medical system.
Now that more people
are paying attention,
we have to band together
to bring effective change
and help our communities.
My name is Bruce McIntyre.
Us as a collective have been doing
a lot of groundwork,
redirecting the course
for birthing equity.
- I met Bruce
and Amber, his partner,
because they were being grossly neglected
in the hospital setting.
Amber did not survive.
And one of the things
I was talking to Bruce about was
how we continue
to just honor,
um, who she was
as, as a mother
and make sure this doesn't happen
for somebody else.
Like, we can sit
and, you know, wait
for somebody to sweep in,
but it's an SOS situation
and we have to save ourselves.
- I know that what I want
in my communities,
in my birth communities,
from my clients is support.
When I think of the hospital climate,
some people are welcoming birth support
and other hospitals are not.
- Right.
My belief is that,
you know, people need
to have safe options
across the board.
Safer hospitals or,
like I always say, look for alternatives.
You know, you don't have
to birth at a hospital
if that's not, you know,
if you're part
of that 85 percent
that's low risk, you know.
But we want to do
the best that we can
to give people
a safe vaginal birth,
if that is their desire,
in an environment
where they're going
to be listened to,
respected, valued,
and, you know, at peace.
ASHLEE: Can I touch your belly?
FELICIA: Uh-huh.
- How are you doing?
PAUL: Oh, Lily-bug.
What's going on in there?
There's a lot going on.
Yeah. [laughs]
So this is what we're going to do.
We're going to try this exercise.
- Okay.
And this is going to show
what it looks like
when you have a contraction,
what a contraction does.
So, this is your baby.
This is the uterus.
You're going to put
the baby in your uterus.
FELICIA: I don't know
what I would be doing
without a doula right now.
She's from Tulsa.
She's Black.
I have, like, a friend
who's educated in this
that I talk to every two weeks.
Keep contracting, keep on going.
I don't know if we talked about this,
but I would like to touch on it,
like what a normal birth is
and what a normal birth looks like.
There's such a wide range
of what normal is.
You can think of a normal birth
as like the train tracks
and then your birth experience
as the train, alright?
And then sometimes,
things happen.
We may have to switch tracks
and go around or whatever,
and that's okay.
FELICIA: At first, when we did
the birth plan, I was like,
"I'm just going to go to the hospital,
you know, the normal thing."
And then we talk about, like,
all the choices or the options,
and then I was like,
"Maybe a birth center is better."
We on track.
FELICIA: The main thing for me is
I do not want to have a C-section.
Paul and I are entrepreneurs.
We generate our own income.
I don't have a grandmother
that can come stay with us.
We don't have the resources
for a night nurse.
It says right here.
PAUL: Okay.
FELICIA: Having a major surgery
will impact
our success as a new family
for the next 12 months.
ASHLEE: Hello.
Felicia? Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you. Paul.
Nice to meet you.
We've met before, haven't we?
ASHLEE: Yeah. Ashlee.
PAUL: Okay.
Ashlee, okay.
Nice to meet you.
GISELLE: Well, I'm going to give
you guys your tour today.
I'm trying to talk about the risk
versus benefits of hospital
versus birth center births, so--
ASHLEE: Perfect.
GISELLE: Alright. Okay.
Well, let's go over this way.
We have three birth suites back here,
and I'm going to show you the first one.
This is the Gavin suite.
When you come in in labor,
you get your room,
um, we settle you in,
check you in,
and then we just see
what feels good to you.
Maybe you want to go
for a walk down at the park.
Maybe you want to go to the Y
and walk on the track.
Maybe you want to go
to the mall and walk around.
Maybe you want to get
in the tub for a little bit.
So it's really just up to you.
And we just go along with you
and carry our Doppler
and monitor baby
and make sure that you're doing okay,
and baby's doing okay while you
work through your labor stuff.
This is the Bella suite,
a little bougie in here.
A little bougie.
- Mom is like, yeah.
That's my girl.
There you go, Felicia.
- This is the room I designed.
FELICIA: Oh wow.
- Yeah.
It's pretty cool.
- You're taking it all in?
- I'm definitely taking it in.
I haven't even gotten in yet. Like--
This is crazy but amazing
at the same time.
PAUL: I'm getting an understanding.
- I'm going to try
to walk you through
some of our medical things
that we have in place here.
My kids call this the scary cart.
We are certified nurse midwives here,
so we do follow the medical model
in that we have a suture kit
for your bottom.
And I will tell you,
we throw more of these away
because they expire than we use them.
And the reason for that is we give you
the most important gift
as a first-time mom.
And that is time, time to be
in labor, time to stretch.
But if we need to repair
your bottom afterwards,
we can do that.
And then the medication box.
We don't do inductions of labor here,
but we do have Pitocin
and a couple of other medications
that will help with hemorrhaging
if you were to hemorrhage
after you delivered.
- Paul's been working a lot.
I've been researching more.
Like, I'm really educating myself,
and I'm like, I'm just trying
to have this baby safely.
- Let me just,
let me break down
just a few of the statistics
for you, okay.
So with birth centers,
the C-section rate's about six percent.
In the hospital, the national average
is around 30, 33 percent.
But we don't value
a vaginal delivery in this setting
over your safety.
I've had four C-sections.
Medically, I wasn't able
to have a vaginal birth.
- I'm, like, totally aware
of how fortunate
we are to have this option
this close to where we live.
I know people drive hours here too.
I have one family come over
from almost four hours away
in Arkansas.
They got an Airbnb and stayed
the last couple weeks
of the pregnancy with their family
so that they could enjoy
birth center care here.
- How did you, like, guys decide
to open this?
Like, it's like against the system.
It was incredibly difficult,
but this is a calling for us
to do this.
GISELLE: The unfortunate thing is
they will not, insurance-wise,
will not cover any of our care.
Uh, so it would be
a sole out-of-pocket expense
for you to do that.
Now, since you're coming to us late,
the total for us would be 3,000.
- That's not bad.
[Giselle laughs]
I mean, I'm pretty much sold.
It's nothing I didn't really...
see out of place
or anything like that.
I feel like switching over,
I don't really have
to worry about anything.
Like, I'm more controlled
on knowing what's going to happen
instead of whatever's going on
in that hospital that day.
My grandmother had
three children successfully.
My dad was the only one born
in the hospital.
- I don't think it matters
which one it is.
I'm going to be
right there with you.
And I have nine nieces
and nephews.
So I know about, like,
children and birthing.
- Let me tell you,
Mr. I Know Everything.
There's two things you don't know
and you can't do.
- How to be a woman
and how to have a baby.
Yeah. Yeah, you right.
- Midwives existed in all nations
and cultures of the earth.
Midwives knew
the feminine secrets.
Midwives were abortion practitioners
since the beginning of time,
helping women control their fertility
and control the use of their wombs.
That's a lot of power.
In spaces
where women have power,
some men have a problem with it.
In Europe, the Catholic church
wants more control
of childbearing women and their choices.
It's the church
that first demands
that men be a part
of childbirth.
Enter the male midwife,
who then later on segues
and becomes the OB/GYN provider.
And priests, they're hearing
these reports that women scream
and women yell
and they become animalistic.
They, they become this other thing
when they're in childbirth,
that has not been seen before by men.
We of course have
the scripture in the Bible
and the Lord's prayer,
deliver us from evil.
There becomes
this identification
with being delivered from evil.
You start to see this language
that women need to be delivered.
They need to be delivered.
And we've carried that
into modern day.
When we get to United States history,
when enslaved people come here,
midwives come with them.
Midwives are on every plantation,
not just caring for enslaved Black people.
They were caring for everybody.
When the mistress of the plantation
and her daughters and white women
are having babies,
they're being attended
by Black midwives too.
Midwives become
some of the most valued
enslaved persons.
George Washington himself
actually paid his midwife.
She was so valuable
because he wanted to make sure
that generations and generations
of enslaved beings
made it earth-side safely.
After slavery, we still have
community midwives.
Over time,
these powerful white men,
this new thing called
an OB/GYN physician decide
we are going to deem
that you should come
to the hospital to give birth.
White male physicians
and white public health nurses
bond together
and create a whole lot
of marketing campaigns
that say Black midwives are dirty.
They're unskilled. They're untrained.
White public health nurses
would actually run around
and hunt to find out
where the midwives were,
forcing them to go to health departments
and turn in their license,
saying to them,
"If you catch another baby,
I'll report you, and you'll go to jail."
And midwifery becomes
a book knowledge profession.
You become a nurse,
and then you take this extra training
to work in concert with the doctor.
It is not a profession
that you grow into
through apprenticeship anymore.
So white women took over
this profession.
Right now,
87 percent of all midwives
certified in the United States
of America are white.
Hi, Georgette, hi.
I'm very involved with students
around the nation,
especially here in New York.
We need more midwives
in the space.
Cecilia caught the twins,
Oh my goodness.
- First twins, she caught.
The United States has to adopt
the same modality
as all other countries,
and midwives have to be central
to women's healthcare.
NURSE: Good night.
HELENA: Alright. Night-night.
Midwifery care supports Black women
because when it's done well,
it's anti-traumatic care.
It is a way to reconstruct
the narrative
that childbirth does not have
to be this process that's laced
in abuse.
- Good job.
- That felt good. Yeah.
Good job.
- Let's see if I can eat
one more before one comes.
When the contraction comes,
I don't want to eat
because I feel like
I'm going to choke
trying to keep myself together.
[Felicia moans]
- What you smiling about?
[indiscernible mumbling]
PAUL: [indiscernible]
take care of you while I'm asleep, huh?
[indiscernible dialogue]
122 over 70.
Rocking it out, mama.
- Ohhh!
I think it's deeper now.
[loud moan]
- You got it.
- Is she okay?
She is just perfectly content.
- She's like right down here
where my hand is.
- So, are we ready? Not yet.
[Felicia moans]
[moaning continues]
You're doing amazing.
You're almost there.
- It's the hardest thing
I ever did.
Okay. Here comes one.
- You want the pillow?
You got this.
- Yeah? Yeah.
WOMAN: There you go,
there you go, there you go.
So good.
[exhales forcefully]
Breathe it out. Good.
- Take your time.
GISELLE: Reach down.
Reach down.
Open your eyes.
Want to reach down and help?
- No.
He can help.
- There we go.
[baby cries]
[indiscernible chatter]
GISELLE: You did it. Woo!
That's your baby.
Oh my god.
FELICIA: Hey, baby.
WOMAN: Say hi, mommy.
Hi. Hey. Hey.
[indiscernible chatter]
GISELLE: Hi, sweetheart.
You did it.
Baby, she's here.
Yeah, she's here, baby.
WOMAN: You did it.
FELICIA: Thank you.
[baby crying]
- Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
- Don't cry.
I know, sweetheart.
Happy birthday.
There's your mama.
You are beautiful.
All that hair.
I know.
I know.
- I can't believe this is real.
Thank you.
She here, baby. She is here.
- She's here and beautiful.
- Oh my goodness.
Oh wow. This is the space
I'm excited.
- So, we're thinking
about making
the first two floors the birth center
and then the third floor,
the reception
and a couple exam rooms
and a couple wellness spots.
And then in that corner,
that's going to be a small community room
where we can have, um,
smaller classes happen.
BRUCE: We're going to bring
a birthing center over here to the Bronx.
We need it. We have the highest
Cesarean rate in this borough.
- It's pretty big.
- We are partnering up
to bring a birthing center to the Bronx,
to serve our community,
to serve our people.
We need to stop working for a system
that is not going to work for us.
And we need to take care
of our communities.
We need to step up.
- Within the entire state
of more than 19 million people,
there are only three birth centers.
This needs to change.
Birthing centers are a happy medium
of a hospital birth,
a very necessary option, and home birth,
which is a wonderful option,
but not for everybody.
- Even if you can't donate,
figure out what you can do
to play your part to help us.
MYLA/NUBIA: Thank you.
- We deserve a birthing center.
- We deserve a birthing center.
- We deserve birth centers.
- Yes.
MYLA: Yes.
BRUCE: Hello?
NEEL: Hey.
How are you, man?
BRUCE: Doing well, doing well, Neel.
How are you?
NEEL: It's good to see you.
Good to see you.
NEEL: How was the trip?
BRUCE: Oh, brother.
It was, it wasn't bad.
It wasn't bad.
- We so appreciate you,
um, coming up
and then spend time
with our students today.
- Definitely.
- I couldn't imagine when we talked
last year that we'd be here.
- Yeah.
- Doing this.
- Me neither.
I was just thinking about that,
like how surreal it is.
You know, that's just
what moving forward does, you know.
You just got to keep pushing forward,
and doors open up.
- Yeah.

BRUCE: Amber Rose Isaac
was the love of my life.
She passed away due to
an unscheduled emergency C-section
that stemmed from medical negligence
throughout her entire pregnancy.
After finding out all this information
and doing so much studying,
I found out that Amber was
as good as dead
as soon as she walked
into that hospital.
So we need to make sure
that this doesn't happen to anyone else.
In 2018,
I watched Amber--
NEEL: What people like Bruce
have taught me
is that affirming a person's dignity,
seeing them, hearing them is
the way that you make them safe.
It's not a luxury.
Thank you so much.
I actually remember being on Twitter,
hearing about Amber Rose.
And so it is so surreal
to me right now
to be sitting next to you,
to hear you tell your story,
to capture the things that
a news article
will never be able to capture.
This fight is not over.
And there are times,
because this is,
it feels like it's so in my face,
because this is the work
that I'm interested,
"Oh, enough people know
about this."
But it's not enough, right?
Because too many people
are still dying from this.
Right? There will still be another,
which is one too many already.
- As a white provider,
I'm going to have a blind spot
that is, I don't have
any lived experience
with racism in this way.
And it's really, really easy
to become part of the problem
if you're not actively working
towards understanding
these types of stories.
STUDENT 3: I know you say
that this shouldn't ever happen again,
but the fact is it will.
Um, and so I think it's important
to have spaces of activism
and healing to be prepared for that.
- You know, we're not going
to be able to save everyone,
but with Black lives, Black women,
it's believed that over 60 percent
of these deaths were preventable.
That's more than half
we're talking about.
That sounds like
a choice to me.
That sounds like a system.
And if you're here today,
that shows me that you want
to reimagine the system.
So I appreciate everyone being here.
- Alright.
I'm down here in Houston
to meet a father
I've never met before.
But who I am definitely connected to.
After I created
a piece for Amber,
I created a piece
for another woman,
and it just started
to become like, um,
what I was doing.

Creating pieces for other families
who have lost their daughters,
their mothers, their partners.
To keep their stories going.
I've started to meet more families
than I ever could have imagined,
all over the country,
and build a community
that is needed.
What's good, bro?
Man, I'm happy
to be out here, man.
- Good to see you.
SAM: After Maria had the baby
in the hospital,
they came and told us, hey,
we had to, you know,
it's time to go, you know,
time to check out.
But, you know, uh,
she's not even able to walk.
Maybe we can, you know,
extend this somehow, whatever, you know?
Can she get more help?
But, you know, when the insurance
don't, don't pay for it--
They don't care about you
that much.
- Somebody hit me up on IG,
and they told me, you know,
about you and your story
and, you know, Maria.
I felt compelled,
like I got to speak to you
to let you know, like,
you know, like,
I don't know you,
you know,
but I know how you feel, man.
Like, I know
what you're going through.
I know, I know the pain.
I know what it is.
With that said, I want
to give you this.
I'm so happy, man, that I was able
to come out here
and, and give it to you first hand.
Oh, man.
- I know that Shamony and Maria
are up there wherever they are.
They're probably in the room
right now with us, honestly.
But, you know,
they connecting.
You know, they making stuff happen
for both of us, man.
OMARI: Small, something small
I could do, man.
It's the very least
I could do for you, bro.
Appreciate you, man.
- I appreciate this, bro.
No doubt. No doubt.
- Yeah. It's dope.
[indiscernible chatter]
So, on the count of three,
we going to get this started.
One, two, three.
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear Khari
Happy birthday to you
[all cheering]
SHAWNEE: Here, wait a minute.
Who wants some?
Um, Charles? Open your mouth, Charles.
GIRL: That-that-that's okay.
Bruce? Where's Elias?
Let him open his mouth.
Now, I want to say thank y'all.
I love y'all. We love y'all.
This is a very--
It's been a very emotionally driven
and a very emotional rollercoaster for me,
especially this last couple of hours,
but, you know, specifically
these last couple of days.
And, um, I didn't know how I was going
to get through it.
And the anxiety of me thinking
about trying to get through it by myself
is... it's enough
to kill somebody, you know.
But the fact that I have
all of you as support,
it makes it so much easier to put
and keep a smile on my face, man.
So, thank y'all again.
I love y'all. We love y'all.
MAN: [on computer]
Take care.
- Peace
Ahhh, ya got me!
- Let's do our little ritual.
Now I'm starting
to feel the butterflies.
Let your hands be the hands.
- Ase.
- Mm-hmm.
- This one is purity.
Your mantra.
- I act from pure intentions.
- Yes.
So, for today, it's not about me.
So I'm going to...
I'm getting so emotional.
- That's okay.
- Just moving myself
out of the way
so Shamony can speak through me
so that women can live. So--
And then anybody that does not know
about this, um, epidemic,
not the pandemic,
but the epidemic
of maternal mortality and morbidity
will be, um, able to receive that
and walk away with knowledge
and then also prayerfully some action.
You ready?
JASMINE: Mm-hmm.
- Alright, here we go.
MAN: How are you?
SHAWNEE: I'm good.
Pretty good this morning.
Our next speaker
is a licensed clinician,
author, healer,
spiritual leader, and a reproductive
justice advocate and activist.
Shawnee Benton-Gibson.
[cheering and applause]
- Black lives matter,
but Black wombs create Black lives.
And when we forget that,
we forget our humanity.
We want to make sure
that our grandbabies,
our children have mothers
to raise them.
And that fathers are not left
to figure it out on their own.
We must stop this.
Black lives matter
because Black wombs matter.
Black lives matter
because Black wombs matter.
Black lives matter
because Black wombs matter,
and a Black womb created you.
[cheering and applause]
I want white supremacy
to get off the necks
of women and their wombs.
This momentum is like a wave.
We keep showing up.
We're not letting the pain stop us.
We are holding people who have
the most power accountable
for how they use it.
Our maternal health community
is really pushing for change
on Capitol Hill,
trying to bring about
different legislation
in order to make sure
that women have
the care that they're supposed to.
- I can't let Amber be
another statistic.
I'm making people aware
of what's going on in these systems.
I planned on spending
a lifetime with Amber.
I wanted to give her my life.
This way, I'm still going to.
Amber Rose Isaac.
We hear you, we see you.
Shamony Gibson.
We hear you, we see you.
Kira Johnson,
we hear you, we see you.
We're taking a closer look
at the maternal mortality rate
in the United States.
- This issue of maternal health--
- I introduced a bill called
the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act.
It's 12 bills
to end our nation's
maternal mortality crisis.
- All those families
who have been impacted,
who even in the face
of their trauma
and their devastating losses
continue to amplify their voices,
that is really why
this work is happening today.
- Our healthcare system
including reproductive healthcare
was built on a legacy
of systemic racism,
and that legacy continues today.
- Madam Chairwoman,
as we approach Mother's Day,
my heart is heavy
as I sit here representing
the thousands upon thousands of families
that have been impacted.
These are my sons,
Charles and Langston.
My wife Kira won't wake up to breakfast
in bed this Mother's Day
because she gave birth...
in a country
that didn't see her,
that didn't value her.
We must do better.
This is Amber Rose Isaac.
Her son Elias
won't have the chance
to spend his first Mother's Day
with his mother.
Elias deserved better.
Shamony Gibson
should be here
with her son, Khari,
and her daughter, Anari.
She deserved so much better.
This is a human rights issue.
It should be
a fundamental human right
to deliver
a healthy child in this country
and live to raise that child.
That's my hope.

Greetings, family.
The reason why we are gathered here today
is because Shamony Makeba Gibson lived.
Gone too soon,
like a comet
blazing across the evening sky.
Gone too soon,
like a rainbow fading
in the twinkling of an eye.
Gone too soon,
shiny and sparkly
and splendidly bright,
here one day and gone one night.
Like a castle built
upon a sandy beach,
gone too soon.
Like a perfect flower
that is just beyond your reach,
That's my mommy.
gone too soon.
Shamony Makeba Gibson,
we will never, ever forget you.

I love it here
'Cause I don't have
to explain to them
Why I'm beautiful
'Cause I am beautiful
Back home, they're scared
Oh, so scared of me
That I became scared of me
I've become scared of me
The way you smile
When you believe in your future
is different
Is different
The way you smile
When you believe in your future
is different
Is different
Now we moving forward ever
Backwards never
Forward ever
Backwards never
When the going gets rough
And life gets tough
Don't forget to breathe
I love it here
'Cause I don't have
to explain to them
Why I'm valuable
That I'm magical
And back home, they tear
Tear my soul apart
Love my broken heart
I don't know where to start
The way you smile
When you believe in your future
is different
Is different
Now we moving forward ever
Backwards never
Forward ever
Backwards never
And when the going gets rough
And life gets tough
Don't forget to breathe
Now we moving forward ever
Backwards never
Forward ever
Backwards never
And when the going gets rough
And life gets tough
Don't forget to breathe