Black History Today: Tia, Shadeed & Khalil, a reflection of of a mothers love in her suns.

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.


How beautiful if nothing more

Than to wait at Zion's door

I've never been in love like this before

Now let me pray to keep you from

The perils that will surely come

See life for you my prince has just begun

And I thank you for choosing me

To come through unto life to be

A beautiful reflection of his grace

For I know that a gift so great

Is only one god could create

And I'm reminded every time I see your face

Lauryn Hill, To Zion

By: Marcus Harden

As parents, you realize there is no handbook on raising YOUR children. Parenting is a collection of wisdom, acquired knowledge, intuition and when done right, unwavering and unconditional love. While the stereotype of single parenting in the African-American/Black community is a bit overhyped (shout out to the awesome families and fathers out there!), the reality is being a parent without the full benefit of a partner is hard.

The reflection of that hard work often times lays in the countless seconds, hours and days that go into the full-time job of parenting. Yet as that reflection becomes clearer, the greatness of that hard work begins to shine.

Tia Shabazz and her two reflections of greatness, Shadeed and Khalil resonate that light. Parenting isn’t about perfection, it’s about the pursuit of a perfected love that manifests in your children but first manifest within you.

A Seattle native, Tia’s love for herself manifest in her everyday pursuit of authentically being better for her family. As a young single mother early in her journey, fighting through those stereotypical stereotypes to lean on her family but most importantly herself and her faith, she walks the journey of parenting for and with her sons.

Her commitment to them no more evident than knowing at any and every event, ceremony and academic endeavor possible, she would be there. The manifestation of her motherly love was in being there for her sons, she became a mother for others sons (and daughters).

Her energy manifested in her oldest son Shadeed, light, and personality so immense that he truly radiates through any room he enters. Whether it be his unique voice, his infectious smile, his loyal heart or the perpetual motion (with or without music) he manifest that portion of her reflection.

Shadeed a proud member of many championship basketball teams at the world-renowned Rainier Beach International Baccalaureate High School (aka Crown Jewel of the Southend, the Hall of Fame on Henderson, etc).

Shadeed brings that energy with him in his constant pursuit of bettering himself, now in his third year of college still pursuing his dreams yet also beginning to reflect deeply on his passions and sharing that with others, not perfect yet in pursuit of purpose.

The other shard of light from a mother peaceful and introspective, reflection in Khalil, currently a sophomore attending the University of San Francisco. Utilizing his talent as a basketball player to pursue passion and purpose as well (also an alumnus of RBHS), Khalil’s greatest attribute is in his quiet resolve and his acceptance to the call of servant leadership.

In a world filled with young people who spend time yelling “look at me”, Khalil while rarely raising his voice is always yelling, “no, look at you!”. The consummate teammate and supporter, on and off any court he steps on.

Inspiring in an age of reality family drama is the two brothers genuine love and admiration for each other. Not a trace of jealousy or envy, even though their personalities and paths may differ, they stay connected through unashamed support, admiration, and love for the other. They find themselves in each other, the definition of the old parable;

“ I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three.”

The true beauty of this family is the embodiment of their love together. Tia doesn’t shy away from her sons being her world and in return, they orbit around her emanating light of two stars shining brightly. Maybe, the most inspiring of their family growth was as Tia preached and practiced the value of education to her sons, her pursuit of more education for herself, enrolling in and completing college and further education alongside them.

Tia, Shadeed & Khalil are representations of what parenting and family are, growing and learning together, always together. They are what is possible for any young family, a single-parent family who wonders can they do it, the Shabazz families answers, yes you can.

It won’t be easy, there will be tears, disappointment, doubt, and heartache. Yet greater than all of those will be love and joy. Living testaments to how it can be done. Tia, Shadeed, and Khalil are pieces of living testimony of what’s possible, one mother and two bright and shining suns, they are joy, they are peace, they are love and they are Black History, today!

To support and learn more about the Shabazz family: and thelifeofiball on Instagram