February is the month that highlights African Americans and their many contributions to the world. In honor of the month, many celeb moms have taken the time to pause and appreciate the many pioneers who have paved the way for African Americans to advance. Kym Whitley, Holly Robinson-Peete, and Nia Long were three celeb moms of many to talk with their kids about Black History Month this year.
Kym Whitley:”With my two-year-old son Joshua it seems like we’re living Black history. For example, he was just learning how to speak during this last presidential election. So one of his first words was “Obama!” Now every time he sees a Black man in a suit, he asks, “Obama?” Since he’s only 2, I’m breaking him in slowly, by singing old Negro spirituals as lullabies. Once he is of age, a few of the things I will do with him to insure he is well-rounded will be, to take him to Africa as my parents did for me, watch Roots with him and visit two of my favorite places in Detroit: the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and Hitsville U.S.A, home of the Motown Museum.”
Trina Braxton: My two boys, Eric and Caleb, are biracial (Black and Puerto Rican), so I have taught them how to comfortably be proud of both races and letting them know that no matter their heritage, you’re still a child of God—and that is what matters more importantly than the color of your skin. When they were younger, we would go through our home and point out certain items such as the carbon filament in the light bulb and I would let them know that Lewis Latimer invented this product. I feel it important for my sons to know that out ancestors were botanists, scientists, and prominent musicians and now, President is added to the roster.”
Lisa Leslie: “My husband and I let our daughter Lauren (pictured) know that there are many influential Black people in addition to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. However, Dr. King was one of the greatest leaders who ever lived. He was a peacemaker who worked towards getting brown faces, white faces and yellow faces equal rights and opportunities. We also taught our 5-year-old a Dr. King quote: ‘One should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.'”
Holly Robinson-Peete: “We have so many children’s books on everyone from Medgar Evers to Jackie Robinson. We also celebrate Kwanzaa and we discuss our ancestors’ sacrifices and triumphs very specifically. The kids speak of their own ancestors, like their great grandfather who wrote for a Negro newspaper in Philadelphia and their grandfather, also a writer, who helped launch Sesame Street. The kids learn more about their cultural history during those seven days than they do all year in school. We also make annual trips to places that celebrate and tangibly teach Black history like the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.”
Nia Long: “What I did with my older son Massai (pictured) is take him to the Martin Luther King museum. It was absolutely amazing. They hear speeches, they teach the kids about his mission, his walk of peace and his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement. I explained to Massai that he has to be 10 times better, smarter, more focused, to always take the high road, and to always be the leader, not a follower. My mom is an artist, so I’ve got tons of Black art. We watch a lot of movies. I think for me it’s a combination of sharing with Massai my favorite things about Black history—whether it’s musical, film or historical and try to bring back around and relate it to how it’s affecting his life right now. We read a lot. We’re reading Fredrick Douglass’s autobiography together. We started reading Native Son too.”
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