All Articles Tagged "family"
Faheem “T-Pain” Najm admits that he’s now striving to be a better husband to his wife of 11 years, Amber Najm. But according to the rapper/singer, things weren’t always that way. In fact, he confesses to being quite the opposite just a few short years ago.
“I can’t lie: There was a time in the beginning of my career where all this stuff was going to my head and I would just go and do leisurely things and pretty much I would venture off with other women,” the Tallahassee native revealed during an interview with Sister 2 Sister.
Luckily for him, Amber stuck around long enough to allow him to transform into a better man. But it appears that this transformation didn’t take place overnight. From the looks of it, the “I’m Sprung” singer had to do plenty of soul searching.
“I saw the importance of what I had in my family and my wife—somebody that was there to love me for me and not somebody to love me because I was T-Pain.”
“All that stuff came to a standstill. I just figured out that I don’t need that anymore. It was a bad time. I was caught up in the whole “I’m a celebrity” thing. Everybody wanted to be with me.”
After coming to that eye-opening revelation, he began his quest to become a better father and husband to his family.
“I definitely wanted to be a better husband, a better father, and just better my life so that my family can live good,” he explained. “I came to a point that, even though I had so much money and even though I was doing so good, none of that stuff is going to mean anything if my family ain’t okay.”
Catch his full interview in the March 2014 issue of Sister 2 Sister.
“Are you and daddy getting divorced?”
I was four years old, sitting on the bathroom floor and chatting with my mom while she soaked in the tub, when I blurted out this question. “No, of course not!” she immediately responded. “Why would you think that?” I don’t remember what I said next, but somehow we moved on to a new topic.
Later I heard her whispering on the phone about what I’d said. She must have been thinking, How did my little girl, the one with the stay-at-home mom and Catholic upbringing, know about divorce? It’s not like my parents were screaming and slamming doors all the time. Their unhappiness wasn’t supposed to be obvious, especially not to a little girl. But somehow, even at that young age, I could sense that my parents were deeply unhappy in their marriage. Turns out they did get divorced—four years later, right around my eighth birthday. The quietly hostile relationship that my parents had when they were married bloomed into an outwardly hostile one during the split, and it stayed that way for years after the divorce papers were signed. By the time my sister and I were pre-teens, our dad had remarried and pretty much vanished from our lives.
Read more about marriage at YourTango.com
I’ve been interested in where I come from, so to speak, ever since I was about 6 years old and one of my white friends from my neighborhood asked me if I was Mexican. I don’t recall how aware of race I was at that age, but I was pretty sure Mexican I was not. Still, some years later when my grandfather griped at the dinner table about people coming up to him speaking in Spanish and asking what he was, and him telling us he proudly retorted “black,” I couldn’t help but ask, what are we really, though, since people keep asking us?
At the time I was given a generic answer of Creole and left to look up what that even was, as vague pictures of papa – my grandfather ‘s– parents were painted for me. They were born and raised in Louisiana (Lake Charles and Lafayette) and only spoke French, which my grandfather neglected to pass on to his children and had since forgotten in his old age. Aside from an aunt Marie who was still alive somewhere in Texas where my grandfather was raised along with his four brothers and a sister who died at 15, that was about all I had to go on.
My first attempt at tracing my roots was about seven or eight years ago when I was in college and we had to present our family trees as part of an ethnic studies class. At the time, I had the bare minimum and became that stereotypical African American talking about they had Indian in their family, thanks to a pension file I came across of my third great grandparents on my father’s side: Church and Ellen Tipton. The Tiptons, both mulattos according to census records, were the first real ancestors I could put a face to – literally – thanks to a photo my dad sent of them. Beyond that I also got a glimpse into the kind of people they were, with a special examiner providing this description of my great, great, great grandmother in the pension file relating to Church’s service in the U.S. Colored Troops:
“This claimant is one of the cleanest neatest negro women I nearly ever saw to be living on a farm. She is honest, reliable and is believed to be virtuous by those who know her best. The evidence herewith is deemed sufficient to show that she and the soldier were married by a ceremony, but without a license, during slavery times and lived together continuously, except the time he was in the army, until he died since which time she has not remarried.”
I wrote about the experience of finding the Tiptons before, but ever since I came across their story I’ve been eager to find more like that about my other ancestors. So, this Christmas I spent some time with my grandparents on both sides of my family, looking through old photos and asking questions about who they knew and remembered. I wasn’t expecting to learn much, but my dad’s parents turned out to be a gold mine.
My grandmother told me the names of all the ancestors of her father, who’s still alive at 91, up until the 1870s and from there I was able to use census records to go back to the 1820s. I found out that entire side of my family had basically lived in the same area of Jasper, TN, and Fackler, Jackson, and Bridgeport, AL, since our time in the United States. And thanks to some sleuthing and e-mail harassing on my part, I’ve been able to connect with a distant cousin of my great grandmother’s who has pieced together even more parts of our ancestral puzzle and was able to provide the first and only photo of my third great grandfather that I’ve ever seen. Another cousin has also connected me with all of his closest cousins and we’ve begun connecting on social media and sending each other e-mails.
My father’s father was just as helpful on this front. Though I knew Church and Ellen were the great grandparents of his mother, Cora Stewart. I didn’t know much about his father, William’s side. Now I can put names to fourth great grandparents who were born in Georgia and Alabama in the 1820s and 1840s. As I sat with my father’s parents two days after Christmas, I realized that was the first time I was actually learning who they were, and I felt kind of ashamed. In 28 years it never crossed my mind to ask where they grew up — and how — or how they met even. And here they were with a treasure trove of information just waiting to share with someone if only they asked — except when I asked my grandfather, “so what’s our background?” and he replied, “background?!” “You know racial makeup background,” I probed, and he said “Well, black, there’s some Cherokee in there and I guess Irish. McCarver (his last name) is Irish.”
I think some of the apprehension to ask my father’s parents these questions came from the response my mother’s side provided when I’d gone down this road with them years ago. I recall lots of gaps in information and timelines about their moves between Georgia and Texas and Illinois and Ohio that just didn’t add up. And then my aunt reminded me of a marriage and divorce that was left out of the story and a few other details and I realized my ancestral stories wasn’t necessarily being halted by a lack of memory but memories some didn’t want to remember. So far I haven’t cracked through that barrier with my grandfather who insists he recalls no family members outside of his parents. But from time to time he’ll lament how he wishes he knew more about his ancestors as he writes gumbo recipes for me and tries to teach me what a rue is.
Surprisingly, this time around my mom’s mother is just as invested in my project as I am, sending me pictures of my great, great grandfather, George Adams, that I never knew existed, and explaining to me what it was like to grow up in the south with little-to-no electricity and miss out on school because she had to farm, and migrate to the Midwest just have a better quality of life.
As I await the results of my DNA testing so I can finally give people a straight answer when they ask what I am since “black” is never enough, I already feel grateful for the connections I’ve made with my living relatives whose very presence in my life I’ve taken for granted. I never realized it’s not the norm to be nearly 30 years old and have both sets of your grandparents alive and even a great grandfather. I’m also anxious to finally feel a sense of belonging to a specific group of people instead of envying friends who’ve clearly been able to call themselves Jamaican or Puerto Rican or Filipino. I’m also excited to share these results with my grandparents and provide answers to questions they never thought they’d find an answer to.
As I sat in the hair salon this past weekend getting some long overdue Brazilian curly hair sewn into my head, it was only a matter of time before the hot topic of Valentine’s Day came up. One by one the stylists and their clients went around and commented on what they wanted, what they’d actually be getting and what they had been surprised with in the past. I’ve had more uneventful Valentine’s Days than amazing ones, but when I think of it some of the best ones were spent with people that many don’t typically associate with your boy Cupid: my family.
Do you remember candygrams? If not, I’m sure your school had some embarrassing system to prove just how popular someone was as they floated through their school day carrying more and more plastic roses or those disgusting candy hearts after each class. I was always the one waiting on a candygram from a crush that never came. A part of me was comforted by the fact that I was the girl who was always dating someone at another school (honestly, except that he wasn’t actually in high school at all). But I’ve never had a secret admirer, and in grade school my note always came back with “No” checked. But the one thing I could depend on for Valentine’s Day was that I would come home to little boxes of chocolates and cards spread across our dining room table courtesy of my mom. Just that little reminder that someone, somewhere thought I was special was better than a $1 store rose with a scraggly misspelled message delivered to my homeroom any day.
I hate to be in my Charlie Brown “what matters most” bag, but as I talked a manic friend down from over-analyzing and obsessing about how much to do and not do in a new relationship for Valentine’s Day, I had to remind her that it doesn’t matter how much a man does on one day, what matters most is how he acts for the other 364 days of the year. There will be men buying roses and candy for their “main” on February 14th only to spend the night with their sidepiece on February 15th. Valentine’s Day should be about the people who love you, support you and put up with you all year long. Those are the people you should be going out of your way to make feel special.
If you haven’t been doing so already, remember there are other sections in the Hallmark aisle besides “For Him”. I don’t mean to be a Valentine’s Day Grinch but let’s be honest: That big bear is eventually going to sit in the corner and get dusty while triggering your allergies all spring long, your flowers will die, and half of those candies are filled with disgusting coconut and chocolate nougat. It truly is the thought that counts. Even if you’ve been doing it all year, obsess just as much over letting your parents, your girls, your siblings and your kids know how much you love and appreciate them. You never know but you may have someone whose candygram got lost in the mail and that little box of butter creams may just make their day.
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.
All the baby love you could stand was in the air as the Wayans and Simmons families came together to celebrate the impending arrival of Vanessa Simmons and Mike Wayans’ little bundle of joy. The baby shower was held in Los Angeles at the Sugar Factory and it looked like a wonderful party!
The shower was a rubber duck theme and it appears that the baby shower keepsake read, “Rub a dub dub, a new baby girl to love.” Cairo Customs designed everything and by the looks of things, it all came out beautifully. Take a look at the pictures posted by Vanessa, Angela Simmons, and Marlon Wayans. Don’t miss the cake which was absolutely gorgeous! Vanessa Simmons’ duck themed baby shower is one of the cutest celeb showers we’ve seen in a while.
Family was everywhere:
Check out the next page for more pictures!
That’s right, former gymnast and Olympian Dominique Dawes is having a baby!
Now, how this has gone totally unnoticed for so long is actually pretty surprising because Dawes is still very active in various communities bringing about awareness for healthy living and lifestyles.
I don’t know about you but back in the day, Dominique Dawes was everything. She was the sole Black woman on the 1996 U.S. Olympics Team and represented in a major way. There were few young black girls at that time who didn’t want to be her: graceful and talented.
Many of us saw her during 2012 Olympics giving commentary on the Fierce Five, the Women’s Gymnastics Team, and it made us wonder, “Where has she been? What’s going on with her?” Well, no one could find out much information but as the pregnancy news has finally come to the light (she’s actually been talking about it on Twitter for months), information is trickling in little by little.
This is allegedly Dawes’ husband, Jeff Thompson:
He is a student advisor and religion teacher at a Catholic school in Maryland. He and Dawes have allegedly been married since May 2013 bur unfortunately, we can’t find one picture of them together. That shouldn’t come as too much of a shock because Dominique has always been private about her personal life. But at age 37, she’s about to have her first child!
Congratulations to Domique Dawes and her husband Jeff on their little bundle of joy on the way!
For some couples, the decision to have children is something that was decided well before marriage. But for many couples, choosing whether or not to have children can be one of their most daunting issues. Because this decisions is irreversible, it’s one that can’t be taken lightly.
Sometimes the argument for parenthood is obvious: parenthood can be infinitely rewarding on many levels. There is no bond like that between a parent and child. Having children can also create a special bond between you and your partner as co-parents and may ultimately lead to the incomparable joy of having grandchildren later on.
At the same time, raising a child is an enormous task and its intensity cannot truly be imagined until experienced. Parenting means an incredible energetic, emotional, and financial commitment. Every aspect of life changes when parenting and this new life will account for much of your time. It may even define you!
Exploring the question of whether or not to have children can bring your deepest values, joys and fears to the surface. Start the conversation well before you plan to start your family to make sure you two are on the same page. Here are four of the most important considerations to talk through with your partner.
1. It can’t be about your friends.
The decision of whether or not to have a child needs to be made solely by you and your partner. Yet the pressure from others can cloud your thinking. Just because others around you are starting families doesn’t mean it’s the right time for you. Don’t let the desire to maintain your friendships by ensuring you are in similar lifestyles be a factor in making the best decision for you and your partner. Ask yourselves, “Why do we really want children?”
It’s also not your parents’ decision. Many couples feel pressured by their parents who want grandchildren. Your parents may want grandchildren and be disappointed if they don’t have them, but they’re not entitled to grandchildren. Conceiving out of guilt is not going to serve anyone in the long run. Ask yourselves, “Are we ready to make parenting our top priority? If so, what sacrifices are we specifically ready and willing to make?”
Read more about family planning at YourTango.com
We all know that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are criticized for everything they do and this will not be any exception but it is cute.
On Friday, Kim decided to have a little fun and post a picture of Kanye and North West’s matching Lamborghini Aventadors. She captioned it, of course, with “Like Father, Like Daughter.”
I know what you’re thinking: they stay showing off how rich and materialistic they are. Or, “Kim is always trying to outshine someone.” I know, and you’re probably right, but hey, they can afford all this stuff and all the other “new money” people like to show off their toys. The base price for an actual Aventador is around $385,000.
Although little Nori is still too small to actually push herself around, I’m sure she still has fun sitting in it and sort of recognizing that her dad has the same thing.
Do you remember having matching outfits or anything else fun like your parents?
A new study on fathers’ involvement with their children reveals that Black men are more active in their child’s life than ever.
Out of the Black fathers who live with their children, 75 percent help with tasks like bathing and diapering, compared to 60 percent White and 45 percent Latino. The study, which involved 3,900 men between 2006 and 2010, also showed that 35 percent of Black fathers who lived with their young children said they read to them daily, compared to 30 percent of White dads and 22 precent of Latino dads.
In addition, the study found that Black fathers who lived outside of the house were at least as involved as other dads who didn’t live with their kids, or more so.
You can vote and check out other people’s point of view over on ESSENCE.com. What do you think? Do Black fathers get a bad rep? Is it that one bad apple spoiling the bunch thing?
Some people always complain about the grandparents and aunties most when it comes to nosy family members who get all up in your business during the holidays. I have had a very different experience.
I don’t mind my grandparents jokingly inquiring about my love life during the holidays. As infrequent as family gatherings with my grandparents have been, I don’t mind catching them up on my love(less) life. There’s something endearing about it. Maybe because I don’t sense judgment or an impending ambush when they ask if I’m involved with anyone. All I hear is concern. The interested, hopeful and optimistic kind. I talk as much as I feel necessary to talk about it and we move on.
What has been known to throw a mean cog in my personal enjoyment of holiday festivities though, or any family get-together for that matter, is the incessant, sneaky investigation that other family members only a few years older than me have done via social networks so as to spill the proverbial beans about me in front of the rest of the family. My stomach used to tie itself into a pretty painful bow as I walked up to whoever’s home we were ‘celebrating’ at that year. I was always on edge, trying to remember if I had posted or said anything about anyone that my cousins could use against me in the presence of God and all the kinfolks I hadn’t seen in ages. Sure enough, shots were always fired. And fired. And fired.
“Well I wanna know who this guy La was all hugged up with on Facebook, though!”
“Uhhh huh… What was so ‘magical’ about last weekend that you posted on Facebook, huh La?”
I used to sit there so embarrassed with nowhere to run because half the time they took things out of context on purpose. Twenty pairs of eyes looking at me while the ones who stirred the pot sat back and reveled in the crapstorm they caught me up in. I used to get mad. These instigators who had no lives of their own – and I truly mean NO life – targeted me and my liberal ways to stir up some mess in the midst of a more conservative family atmosphere. And I know you’re thinking this was probably all in good fun and I’m too sensitive. It wasn’t and I’m not. I know the difference between jokes and interrogation. I hated the holidays. The anxiety would build up and every year I’d try to avoid what I knew was coming by ducking into another room or by trying to stay silent or invisible. It never worked.
Early this year I decided that I had enough. How dumb had I been to endure this crap for this long? I choose not to dread the holidays this time around. I am grown (cue Beyoncé here)! I own every bit of who I am and what I do and I love it. Instead of hiding in shame or some kind of embarrassment for doing nothing at all but living my life as I choose, I decided to be open and happy. While I owe no explanations, I’m certainly not owed another miserable holiday. Nope. Not when life and God has been so good to me. Nosy relatives have been blocked on every social network I have, and they know it but have too much pride to ask about it. I don’t feel sorry. Deck the halls with big ‘Block’ buttons!
Now I can enjoy the holidays and share as much or as little of my well-lived life as I choose. We’re grown and they’ll deal with it. Joy to the world and happy anxiety-less holidays!
But hey, if folks aren’t meddling this time around, I might tell them that I “met someone” on Twitter…
Nah. I’ll keep that to myself (well, between me and you now).