Over the past few weeks, Karlesha Thurman has become internet-famous, and not because of something she achieved with her education. In fact, most people don’t even know her major because they are too preoccupied with a picture of her and her daughter. The controversy? Thurman is unashamedly breastfeeding at her graduation.
The photo went viral after it was posted on the Facebook page Black Women Do Breastfeed, a page dedicated to creating community for nursing black mothers. The post included the caption: “Congratulations, mama!!!! Giving her daughter more gifts than one! Isn’t this beautiful?! #normalizebreastfeeding.” Unfortunately, others on the Internet were not nearly as supportive. In fact, many were outraged by the photo, insisting that it was taken in poor taste.
While people were posting derogatory comments, others rushed to Karlesha’s defense. Septembre Anderson, a content editor at Urban Native Magazine tweeted her own thoughts on the subject:
Thurman herself stood by her photo, and her decisions as a mother and recent graduate. After the initial outcry about her photo, Thurman posted a statement on Black Mothers Do Breastfeed. It said:
Since then, Thurman and her baby have made many appearances on TV to discuss the controversy over the picture. What started out as a celebration with family and friends errupted into a nation-wide debate. And Thurman is ready to take the stand.