‘On My Own’ A Story of Black Broken Homes

October 16, 2011  |  


The stories of African-American mothers who are struggling to raise their children alone will soon be told in a new documentary titled “Own My Own.”

From historical perspectives to the civil rights movement, women who juggle work and children as well as those who rely on government assistance to supply their needs will discuss the impact absentee fathers have had on their families. The effects of media, peer pressure, and the black church will also be explored.

Despite the negative portrayals of single mothers typically seen in the media, the filmmaker Rachel Miller said the women she came in contact with were “intelligent, productive, beautiful, and strong.”

“Even though I understand the historic and social events that brought about this social dilemma, I am still very saddened and troubled by it, and determined to do something about it,” she told eurweb.

Miller, who has a Master’s Degree in Media Arts from Long Island University and currently works for New York 1 News in New York City, also shares the perspective of these women’s children and the difficulties they face—their need for a male role model and struggling with feelings of inadequacy, abandonment, resentment, and guilt. Viewers will also hear from fathers, some who regret not having been there for their families and who would like to have a bigger part in raising their children.

The documentary is set to be launched on Kickstarter.com to raise awareness of the project and generate funding needed to ensure a 2012 release.

Miller said, “As is so often the case, this project is falling short of the funding it needs to bring it to fruition. I am, however, confident that once the public is aware of the subject matter, and of the raw and honest way in which it is presented, they will open their hearts and be supportive of it.

“It’s time for serious discussion about this problem, and for change in the Black Family.”

Check out the trailer for the documentary, will you support and tune in?

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  • KNB1

    I have the feeling that whenever you get into a situation you know how that person really is. A lot of people refuse to pay attention to the red flags. Women should know that if they sleep with a man and happen to get pregnant by him he will take care of his responsibilities without a second thought. Some people are great pretenders or actors/actresses, but one should truly get to know the other before opening their legs up. I'm 22 and got a little out of control a few months during my freshman year of college, but I quickly got ahold of my senses and reigned it in. After breaking up with my boyfriend in '08 I've only been with one other guy. Now my celibacy is reaching a year and a half again after two relapses with my ex in '10, but I've come to terms with myself knowing that I very well may have been SOL if I got pregnant by him. I know better now and have more self-control (invest in toys and get to know yourself!) I now know that I want to be in a committed relationship and strongly believe that if me and my significant other got pregnant (which I wouldn't want to happen before marriage) that he would help raise the child as he would be obligated to. My parents have been married since '77 and there is no doubt in my mind that if they split my father would have taken care of us children as well as our mother.

  • Kellie

    I always tell girls if he isn't willing to be committed to you and put a ring on it, he sure as hell won't be committed to any child you have. I know a girl who was involved in a relationship with a man for five years, had a baby by him and now has to practically beg him to come see his daughter. Once they broke up, he seemingly forgot he still had an obligation to support his child. He ended up getting engaged and marrying another girl. I think that women hope for the best, they just all too often think with their hearts and not their heads.

    • somethingdifferent

      too true, too true…

  • Prince Edward

    Black women maybe if you idiots closed your legs and open a book you wouldnt be a single mothers and crying about why your one night stand left you.

    • Kam

      Takes two to tango. Women can't get pregnant by themselves.

  • Torrance

    I would NEVER be a single mother to a black man's child.

  • NYtaurus

    I really wish this was going to be a symposium because I NEED to be there with my other two friends. We discussed this topic for a week. The one thing that should NOT be omitted is the outcome of adults who were once children raised by single black mothers. For instance, there are men in life who can't understand why it is that women are reluctant to let them "wear the pants" in relationships, whether it be friendship, work, church, etc. If you came out of a single parent environment as I did, there were no "pants" to lean on. Mama had to handle her business with efficiency and she taught me to do the same. It is was survival skill of sorts. But out in the real world…and depending on the region in which you reside, oftentimes you are penalized, labeled, and even ostracized for being female and displaying such independence and strength. Now, if Mama instilled all that strength without the benefit of balance, confidence, and decorum…lasting, impenetrable relationships can be difficult to form both personally & professionally. I'm willing to bet that male children raised by single black mothers also have similar waters to navigate, and their perspectives should be included as well for the impact speaks volumes to how we manage adult relationships today.

    • oraclelearns

      Wow! Brilliant comment!

      There seems to be two different perspectives on the results, one for women and another for men. I think for women, the ability to be independent brings a level of freedom. I do not believe men would perceive the same thing.

      I was raised by my father, more than mom to be independent and self-reliant. Never understood why my father could be wrong.

    • Agree 100%.

  • somethingdifferent

    i don't know if i'm going to watch it because i have a feeling it's going to be a verbal version of what i read in the comment section of black blogs and magazines.

  • oraclelearns

    I think it would be important to see which families are successful at raising well educated, prepared adults and which families are lacking in this area. I think this would inform our community of what needs to change and how to change it.

    One would expect to see very successful two parent homes and struggling single parent homes. I would be curious if this documentary confirms the two parent versus single parent situation.

  • womenar4

    I think that subject needs to be addressed in a more positive light. I am not a single mother but I know way too many. These women work hard and often put in these positions after the man leaves. I'm interested in seeing what this doc has to say. I would like to see a doc on everday black women who change the world. I think we need to see more stories of the everyday black woman who is creating change, making a difference and being successful business owners. My blog is doing that but we need that effort on a grander scale. ~www.womenaregamechangers.com