Danielle Brooks — lead actress of the new Lifetime biopic Mahalia — recently reflected on how her perspective towards parenting has shifted following the racial unrest of 2020. As discussed, although she shares the same fears many other parents of color face, she hopes to raise her daughter to “tackle the world and not be defeated by it.”
While speaking with the online outlet Parents recently, Brooks opened up about what motherhood has been like for her since giving birth to her daughter, Freeya, back in November 2019. As she discussed whether the pandemic and social unrest — particularly the racial injustice and protests that marked 2020 — of last year shifted her perspective on parenting at all, Brooks said that her feelings definitely changed, just as how it did for many other Black and Brown parents.
“Yes,” the actress simply answered on whether her parenting perspective has evolved since the events of last year. Explaining how becoming a parent was a decision she weighed, Brooks continued, “It was hard to have a child in the first place, because I knew that my child was going to be brought up in this very hateful, racist, sexist world. I feel like I’ve gone through different phases since she’s been here. At first, when everything happened—the obvious pandemic, but then there’s a racial pandemic as well—I felt defeated. I felt like, ‘How is this child going to survive in this world?’ which is the fear of a lot of parents of color. Now I feel hopeful because I know how I’m going to raise my child. There’s one better human being in this world. It’s work on the parents’ part to show our kids love. I pray I raise my daughter to be street smart and be able to tackle the world and not be defeated by it. Motherhood has been good. It feels good on me.”
Later in the interview, the mother shared more insight on the changes her body experienced after giving birth and the toll postpartum depression took on her — both things she’s been vocal about in the past. Fortunately though, Brooks shared that at the moment her main focuses are just to appreciate and “love” the place she is now amidst her motherhood journey.
The star also discussed what it was like to have Lifetime’s Mahalia as the first role she took on after her pregnancy. According to what she told Parents, Brooks was happy to land the role because like so many new mothers, she was worried that her baby would be seen as a liability as she got back into the workforce.
“We all worry if we’ll ever work again,” Brooks told the outlet about transitioning back into the acting world after giving birth to her daughter. As the two questions that circled her head at that time, she recalled, “‘Will people see me as a burden because I have a child and I need somebody to care for her?’, ‘Will people accommodate me?'”
“The fact is, I can do my job,” she said confidently before inspiringly adding later, “What we’re able to do as women is phenomenal. It’s queen status.”
Check out Brooks as Mahalia Jackson in Lifetime’s biopic tomorrow night (April 3) — and to see the trailer, click here.