Save Our Moms: Lena Waithe Joins MTV and the Black Mamas Matter Alliance to Fight Black Maternal Mortality


Of the many ways in which the United States has long been considered a global leader, there is one which is deeply shameful.


“In the past three decades in the U.S., the number of women who die from pregnancy-related complications has more than doubled,” says Lena Waithe, in a new PSA. “Over half of these deaths are preventable. Black women are at the greatest risk.”

The PSA, which premiered on MTV on Thursday, directly addresses the troubling statistics for expectant mothers, two to three of whom die every day from pregnancy-related complications. And as The Glow Up has previously reported, black women in the United States are currently three to four times more likely to die in childbirth than their white counterparts. They are also twice as likely to lose a child to premature death, making the United States the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth.

But as Waithe notes in her narration, “we have the power to change that story.” The Emmy Award winner’s Protest Art Productions partnered with MTV, Christy Turlington Burns’ Every Mother Counts, and the Black Mamas Matter Alliance for the “Save Our Moms” campaign. Timed for release in conjunction with Mother’s Day, the PSA, directed by Minhal Baig (“HALA”) the campaign is a female-led crusade, initially pitched to MTV leadership by Maria Jose Diaz, Justine LaVoye and Jenise Ogle, students of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

“It’s shocking that the U.S. is the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth,” said Chris McCarthy, President of MTV. “The positive news is that 60 percent of these deaths are preventable and that’s why we launched this campaign.”

In addition to the PSA, which airs across all MTV platforms with a combined reach of more than 700 million, the alliance has created a digital action hub to provide potentially lifesaving resources for expectant mothers and their support systems. MTV News will also include short features, testimonials and op-eds to raise awareness and hopefully galvanize more support and action behind this longtime crisis.

“Every mother deserves the right to go home with their child,” says Waithe.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?



I am pregnant right now with my second and the fear is overwhelming for me. I have good healthcare, I am highly educated, I even have a doula to help & advocate for me at the time of delivery (as well as my husband), but seeing all of this information about black maternal death is terrifying me and is significantly adding to my stress. Many of the black women who have unnecessarily died--or almost so (e.g. Serena)--probably had all that and more.  My first pregnancy we also had a doula b/c I was already concerned about being pushed into an unnecessary c-section given the rates of that occurring, but that was my biggest concern.  I almost feel like being inundated with these stories is the universe trying to warn me that I am not going to make it.  I know that probably seems insane to believe that, but I don’t know what else I can do to prepare for this birth besides getting my affairs in order in case I don’t make it.