WHY WE CELEBRATE MOTHERS
By DIAMOND JONESModern Mother's Day was founded by Anna Jarvis right here in Philadelphia. So what better place to talk to mothers who inspire not just their children, but their communities and be reminded of the unique values mothers teach us all. There's Power in Keeping the Culture Alive Ngeiyah Sirleaf teaches her two sons and daughter that there is power in celebrating heritage and culture through food, dance and maintaining a strong relationship with the family. Jones: Why do you think it is important that we celebrate Mother's Day? Sirleaf: We are the ones who give birth. Without us, none of this would be possible. For me, being a mother is the most wonderful thing ever.
I'm raising another being to become much more than I can imagine. Jones: Can you talk about how you blend your husband's and your own culture? Sirleaf: I'm a Liberian and my husband is an American. However, I make sure we eat food as Liberian family would eat. Whenever we visit my mother, she too prepares African food. Jones: What's the biggest lesson you've learned as a mom? Sirleaf: You have to be strong minded but also vulnerable at the right time. Children are very observant and understand when you're going through things. You don't want to put your burden on them as well, so it's important to leave your kids out of certain things.
Helping Others and Leaving a Legacy Veronica Underwood is a mother of two. She has a son and a daughter. Once a background singer for legends like Diana Ross, Pattie LaBelle and Phyllis Hyman, she eventually landed her own record deal signed to Atlantic Records. She recorded her debut self-titled album and released her hit single, Victim of Desire which peaked at #61 on Billboard back in 1985. Now, she is building a bigger legacy by providing free voice lessons to aspiring singers including her daughter. Ms. Underwood has been giving free voice lessons for 35 years. And has no regrets for not charging a penny for her talent.
Underwood: People always ask, 'why aren't you charging money for your voice lessons?' I would say, it's more of a ministry to me in order to make sure others get the best out of their talents just like I have done over the years. Someone did it for me so I wanted to give back to my community. “It gives them hope and I can see how it pays off. I'm really grateful and thankful. Now those young children, I gave lessons when they were 12 and 18 years old, are still in my life and they check up on me. I'm really blessed.” Underwood's daughter Sadia, also spoke to us and shared how she is now going after her own legacy.
Sadia Taylor: Recognizing how talented and amazing my mother is, I picked up opera when I was younger and was able to [work with] the International Opera Company here in Philadelphia. Now, I am working on an album and trying to branch out as an artist. Because of my mother, music is vested in me. If you talk to any up and coming artist in Philly, they will know my mom. I couldn't have done anything without my mom and I'm still recognizing how wonderful she is. Instagram: Sadia_Taylor Facebook: Veronica Underwood Sadia Taylor YouTube: Veronica Underwood
Building the Foundation for Generational Wealth About five years ago Tamora Williams started her company, Karite Naturals, as a way to help her daughter’s skin condition. Now she owns a store in Springfield Mall just outside of West Philadelphia. Williams: I started my business trying to find solutions. My daughter had eczema and my skin was always dry. I would put stuff on and an hour later I would still be ashy. We started off using Shea butter, but my daughter didn't like the smell so I decided to melt it down and add some oils. She loved it and it worked. I took a class to make natural soaps as well. Jones: How does your daughter continue to inspire you? Williams: When I had the cart here in the mall, she would work it some days but she would always complain that I was being too hard on her. I had to tell her that 'you're my daughter, and this is a business that I can leave to you'. I quit my job three years ago and I don't think it actually clicked for her until we got the store. I want to leave a legacy so that she won't have to work for anyone else. www.karitenaturals.com Instagram:karite_naturals