Ebonee is from Brooklyn, New York. She was living there at the time of her interview and spending her days, “being a mother…being a friend. I recently got my license to be a childcare provider, so that’s kinda cool. I watch kids all day. I love the kids.”
Ebonee’s Most Likely To Is: Most Likely To Succeed
Ebonee shared some of her memories of what the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn was like when she was a child:
“The Bed-Stuy I grew up in was live. It was so nice. Nice sunny days, good people, good community. Not too much happening, you could always walk outside to a smiling face. Playing music, Biggie bumpin’, reggae bumpin’…that’s what my ‘hood used to be.”
She explained what success means to her:
“Success means living comfortably. In this day and age, a lot of people live check to check, and they’re not able to live comfortably. I don’t want to have to worry about where my next meal is coming [from], or when it’s coming. I want to live comfortably. I don’t want to have to live paycheck to paycheck.
…Success to me is having a good job, having a good family structure, you know? Of course you have your daily struggles that you worry about. But I don’t want to worry. I don’t want to be worried. I don’t want to be stressed…
Probably about five years ago is when I kinda smartened up a little bit…and now it’s like becoming a parent and caring about somebody else and having another life that you have to worry about; there’s more to life than just fancy stuff.”
Ebonee talked about how much of herself she sees in her daughter:
“She is me. She is me now. She is the person that I’ve grown to be. She is an example of what I should change, because a lot of stuff she mimics. You know, kids are human tape recorders. A lot of the things she mimics that I do…it makes me want to change as a person. My daughter makes me want to change.”
We talked about how she is raising her daughter to have a strong sense of self-worth and self-love:
“Now that she’s getting older, she notices the differences. Especially because she’s in school. When you’re in the house, or you’re around our community, we see people of color like us. We see people with hair like us. We see people like that…that dress like us. But when she goes to school, it’s diverse. Especially because of gentrification, it’s definitely diverse.
…it’s like, ‘Mommy, Suzy has silky hair, how come my hair isn’t like Suzy’s? Mommy, Suzy has white skin, how come I’m brown?’…questions like that. I tell her this all the time: ‘God makes everybody different. God makes everybody different and I want you to be comfortable in your own skin. You don’t have hair like Suzy because God didn’t give you hair like Suzy. God gave you hair like Mommy.’
And there was a time when I was wearing weave heavy. And my daughter said, ‘Mommy I want hair like yours. Mommy I want a weave.’ And after that – that day – I didn’t wear weave anymore. I’m like: No, because my baby has to appreciate her natural hair, and she has to appreciate her natural beauty.
[There’s] nothing like being Black. Being Black is beautiful. I love being Black, and I want my daughter to love being Black. I don’t want her to feel any different from any other kid.”
Ebonee talked about her journey of personal growth over the past few years:
“Being 15 or 16…man, listen…I didn’t care about much. A lot of stuff that I should have cared about, I didn’t care about. I was too focused on being grown, as my mother would call it. Everybody wants to be grown. You know, you hit teenage years and you start feeling your little self…you get a little boyfriend…can’t nobody tell you nothing!
I stress family more [now]. Before when I was 15 and 16, I didn’t want to sit around my house and bond with my mom, and bond with my sisters, and go here and go there. No, I wanted to be out with my friends, I wanted to go see my boyfriend. That definitely changed. I definitely enjoy spending time with my sisters. I enjoy having that talk. I enjoy chillin’ with my family. That’s what I like.”
She explained what she means when she says that she is seeing “a lot of motherless children”:
“That’s what I see a lot of…I see a lot of motherless children. And my kids will not be motherless children. When I say motherless, I don’t mean like your mother passed and you don’t have her. I mean your mother is too wrapped up being young.
And that’s what we tend to forget as young mothers. Like okay, yeah, we’re the type to have [our] kids young, [and] it doesn’t mean that our [life] is over. But it doesn’t mean that it’s always turn up time.
A lot of young mothers, they have this thing where they leave their kid with the grandmother, and they leave their kid with this one and that one. All these bad things are happening to these kids because you’re leaving them with whoever. And it’s like, son…sit down. Sit down and be a parent. Sometimes you gotta know how to sit down and be a parent.
When I first had my daughter, I was one of those young mothers [like]: ‘Yes, I’m going out. Mommy, watch the baby.’ And then one day my daughter was playing with her doll baby, and she said, ‘here you go to grandma, I’m going outside.’ That was me…she gave the doll to me…’you go with grandma because I’m going outside.’
And that’s when I realized, no, I can’t do this anymore. I’m staying in the house with my baby. ‘Cuz if she sees that, and this is her idea of what being a mother is, then what am I doing as a parent that this is what my child sees? That made me change, that definitely made me change.”