The Ms. Q&A: Mama Tanya, Black Women and the Coronavirus

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“Being your own story means you can always choose the tone.”

—TONI MORRISON, Writer

“I’m no different than you.”

—PATTI LABELLE, Singer

Tanya “Mama Tanya” Fields is “a survivor, of domestic violence, of dreams deferred, of the triple madness of racism and sexism and classism,” writes Powell. “But here she still stands.” (Kay Hickman)

I first met Tanya Denise Fields at a panel I produced in New York City a few years back. I knew of Tanya because of our mutual social justice circles, and because of her refreshingly honest postings about her life and work on Facebook. In a world where so many politicians and activists are guarded, scripted even, Tanya is as unapologetically herself as bell hooks, Rose McGowan, George Carlin or Malcolm X.

When she walked into the event, I witnessed firsthand a leader who does not just inherit a space, but her clear,…

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