At first, it was a fan-girl crush. Like many people, I fell in love with Leslie Jones on "Saturday Night Live," and then fell deeper when I saw her performance in the all-female "Ghostbusters" reboot this summer. Her edgy humor and accolades (oldest comedian to ever join SNL as a cast member) further endeared me to her. I found myself wishing we could be friends—that I could plop down on her couch, watch TV with her and bask in her hilarious pearls of wisdom.
But now I realize that was wrong. I don’t want her just to be my friend. I want her to be my Mom Coach. I want her to guide me as I gut my way through parenting daily drills, cheering me on, putting me through the paces and teaching me how to laugh at myself through tough situations.
Most importantly, I want her to show me how to parent my daughter. Because this week she set an epic example of how to shepherd a young woman through something my daughter may encounter one day: cyberbullying.
When Jones learned that 20-year-old gymnast Gabby Douglas was subjected to a torrent of insults attacking her patriotism and sportsmanship, Jones wasted no time coming to the young gymnast’s defense. (If you are not following Jones on Twitter, you’re seriously missing one of the best perks of the Olympics.)
In a tweet early Monday morning, Jones urged others not to engage with the haters but to “show [Gabby] the love.” Jones employed the hashtag #LOVE4GABBYUSA, which spurred the "SNL" star's fans to shower Douglas’ with love.
Jones’ call to send love to Gabby enticed such luminaries as Shonda Rhimes, Terry McMillan, Chelsea Clinton and Kerry Washington to publicly proclaim their love for Douglas.
Jones was just the right person to send out this message because she recently endured an onslaught of racist, sexist, hostile tweets aimed at her. For example, Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing hater who has since been banned from Twitter, tweeted that she was “barely literature.” Less than a month ago, Jones tweeted that she felt like she was in a “personal hell ... So hurt right now.” Following this tweet, fans flocked to Jones’ page to shower her with affirmations and love.
And this week Jones didn’t hesitate to mobilize that love for Douglas.
Thus, not only is Jones a hilarious, unapologetic defender of a young bullied woman, she’s also the living embodiment of paying it forward. Instead of disappearing into bitterness, Jones used her experience to help—and she did it with class and dignity.
This is exactly what I want to do for my daughter. I want to unapologetically defend her. I want to keep my focus on love and not get distracted and bogged down by haters. I want to use my own experiences to help her move forward in spite of criticism, social obstacles or plain old haters.
I know Jones is very busy with her acting and writing career. And I will always be a fan girl. But I can’t stop wishing she had a side gig as a Mom Coach so she could also teach me how to do what she did with Gabby: react quickly, decisively and lovingly to a young woman in distress. Every mother needs to know how to do that.