She’s a Harlem, N.Y. -based philanthropist, model, and musician, but on Tuesday, Marz Lovejoy’s purpose became even bigger.
According to the Los Angeles Times, about 1,500 people tuned in after Lovejoy decided to livestream her birthing session to raise money for mothers of color to be able to afford a doula and midwife.
Lovejoy’s concern grew for women of color having no choice but to give birth in crowded hospitals and medical centers as COVID-19 continues to spread across the nation.
“[I’ve been] thinking about all my sisters who are pregnant and are not in a position to have a home birth or have a birthing center and have to be in a hospital,” Lovejoy told the LA Times.
Lovejoy gained popularity as a Fenty model where she posed pregnant in a Fenty X Savage campaign. She continued her inspirational efforts by sharing her story with women of color who may be first-time moms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die during birth.
“It is so important because those statistics are the result of implicit bias and people can say, ‘Oh, well — what about diet and what about socioeconomic status,’ but there are studies that show even a black woman who has all of the resources, the money [and] the education has the same outcome as the one who doesn’t have all of those things. And so the common denominator here is bias. It’s racism,” she said.
The 29-year-old philanthropist told the LA Times that the odds of having a successful birth can be increased if an advocate such as a doula is present.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to either know how to advocate for yourself, especially in a time during pregnancy, but really any situation, medical, legal, [and] just being aware of that and having that agency over your body,” Lovejoy said. “And if you can’t do it, then knowing how to find somebody who can.”
Thankfully, Lovejoy, who has a following of more than 60,000 followers on Instagram, also had the support of her virtual doulas included Erykah Badu, SZA, Kehlani, and Karrueche Tran.
Although she prepared for a “quality production” of her Marz Live Birth Series, her baby boy, Mars Rasmussen-Lovejoy arrived sooner than expected. Lovejoy’s labor lasted about an hour and the livestream was about 15 minutes. Viewers were asked to pay a $3 minimum via the Crowd Cast streaming platform.
In total, nearly $33,000 was raised and Lovejoy is still accepting donations that will be allocated via organizations like Mama Glow in New York and Roots Community Birth Center in Minneapolis.
Click here to donate to Lovejoy’s fundraiser to support mothers of color.