The aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray hasn’t done the city of Baltimore many favors. The family of the slain African-American man at the hands of six police officers were recently awarded a multi-million dollar settlement, but today, October 23, the harsh reality of money not being the end all cure for problems has made its way into headlines.
Gloria Darden, the mother of Gray, survived a suicide attempt as her depression over her son’s death still loomed. To make matters worse, each accused officer has pleaded not guilty, which just may complicate the quest for justice in the case.
Darden may be at the center of the Baltimore riots but Toya Graham was easily the most famous matriarch of the April 2015 stain on the nation. Her name may not be easily recognizable but when you throw a “Baltimore Mom” in front of her title, it all becomes clear. She was the woman who was caught by CNN cameras beating her teenage son when she saw him foolishly risking Gray’s fate with attempts to riot with adults.
An interview on Good Morning America and a phone call by Oprah Winfrey (plus a check for $15,000) followed shortly after but according to Graham, she got involved with an aspiring PR guru who failed to deliver on many promises to capitalize off the viral moment.
Those promises included getting a book deal, speaking engagements, becoming a reality television anchor and meeting up with Michelle Obama at the White House. BET, Under Armour and St. Joseph’s Hospital also all reportedly reached out for jobs.
Six months after the entire world was introduced to “Baltimore Mom,” Graham is currently working for minimum wage, driving drug addicts around the city and clings tightly to an eviction notice that says she owes $1,381.50 in her purse.
Immediately following the incident, she aligned herself with a Schuwan Dorsey, a professor at Houston Community College, who referred to herself as Graham’s “promoter/manager/advisor” and tried to connect the dots.
“Toya, the Baltimore Mom, all of that is over,” Graham said to Dorsey over the phone as The Washington Post listened in. “You had some big ideas that I just swallowed up and went along with, but none of that is coming true. And the reality of it is, it’s over. I will do this story with Inside Edition because I do need the money. And that is the only reason why I’m doing it.”
In just a short period of time, Graham experienced the thrills and downside of fame when her brother, Robert, aired her out in The Daily Mail, speaking of her drug-addicted past and dismissing her “hero” status.
““It’s some bulls—,” Rober said, angry that the rest of the family didn’t get any shoutouts in his sister’s interviews. “She ain’t no hero mom. . . . We don’t talk. I haven’t talked to her since this thing happened. One of the reasons why is I gave an interview to someone who wanted a history of the family, and it was unrelated to her supposed heroism.”
As of press time, Graham is pondering on giving Dorsey another chance because as a single mother of six, bills still have to be paid. Also, Under Armour and St. Joseph’s Hospital ducked the Post’s phone calls while a BET spokesperson said, “We do not have a relationship with her.” Harsh.
Long live the Baltimore Mom.