Content And Community For Black Moms


I have very distinct childhood memories of my parents waking me and my younger brother up early—I’m talking 6 to 7 a.m.—to speak to a relative on the phone. Bleary eyed, we’d groggily say “Hello?” and try to hear what was being said to us over a crackingly phone line before an automated voice told us how much time was left on my parents’ calling card, or, more commonly, the line cut out.

These moments reminded me that I wasn’t the same as my African-American classmates. (Well, that and the long list of things I wasn’t allowed to say, do, or watch.)

Being a Nigerian-American first-gen kid in Missouri, my connection with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents depended on poor-connection phone calls and visa lottery luck. There were a lot of things about my culture and family I didn’t learn—or knew, but took for granted—until I got older and got to visit and interact with my Nigerian family and other first-gen kids.

Margeaux Johnson Weston’s book Auntie’s Crown would’ve been nice to have when I was a kid.


Will illustrations by the incomparable Sharee Miller of Coily and Cute, Auntie’s Crown tells the story of Femi, a shy little boy overwhelmed by the seemingly sudden arrival of his extended Nigerian family members to his home in America.

Aunts, uncles, and cousins are in town for his Auntie Cynthia’s wedding. The event provides an opportunity for Femi to learn about his family and Nigerian traditions.


Margeaux—a writer, editor, and teacher—wrote the book with her oldest child, now 10, in mind. When his father died in 2014, she wanted to help him connect with his identity as a Nigerian-American boy.

“Whenever his grandmother came from Nigeria, she had the head dress on and he was like, ‘What is that?’” she tells mater mea. “He found out, ‘Hey, that’s a part of me. That’s what people wear.’ He’s super proud now.”

In Auntie’s Crown, Femi’s favorite aunt, Auntie Koy, tells him about the traditions seen in Nigerian weddings.


“Weddings are a great celebration,” she began. “Everyone dresses up in different colors and wear big crowns like kings and queens.”

Femi thinks he knows what kings and queens look like, but after learning about the headdresses Nigerian women wear (called geles) and the hats men wear (filas), he understands that he’s also royalty.

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In the book, Femi also meets many of his cousins for the first time, something that makes him anxious. What if they want to play with his toys? Why do they all have to stay in his room? (Super relatable as someone who used to call her childhood home the “Nigerian Hilton” and whose bedroom became the de facto guest room.)

But once Femi is introduced to his cousin Rocky, he learns that they have a lot of things in common, and that having cousins to play with is fun!

This part of Femi’s character also connects to Margeaux’s son, she tells mater mea.

“A lot of my son’s struggle with being shy was him being autistic,” she explains. “For him to see a character who was kind of having anxiety about the people—even though they were family and people he had heard about or spoke to on the phone in Nigeria—who were now here, it was really exciting for him to see.”

Representation matters, and Auntie’s Crown reflects that and Margeaux’s deeply held mission to provide children a window and a mirror to their lives through reading.

“Hopefully when people read it, they can see themselves in this book. As a teacher, we’ve always been about the windows and mirror—the children seeing themselves in the book, that’s the mirror, and then the window with them being able to look into different cultures or different types of characters to get a better understanding of things,” she explains.

“This is at least my effort to try and do that for another child who may be a Nigerian-American and doesn’t have that connection with family [being] consistently around to know different things are culturally,” she continues, “and also a child who may not have ever seen it so they can learn something about the culture as well.”

You can purchase Auntie’s Crown here.


Tomi Akitunde is the founder of mater mea, a platform that celebrates, supports, and empowers Black moms through content and community.

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Tomi Akitunde is the founder of mater mea.


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