I chose this photo to post in celebrating the birthday of my son because this moment in our lives mark another pivotal moment. Arie had never had a haircut..he was born with so much hair..a nice afro – it was so full it looked like a wig! Both of my children have a lot of hair. Lauren’s was in the middle of her back by age 4…same thing people would ask ‘is she wearing a wig?’ For the record..it isn’t true people of color..black people don’t grow hair.
I’d seen one boy with locks and thought it would be cool to do that to Arie’s hair. I started him with braids and then began the locking process. His locks received so much attention..strangers would want to touch it, cue Solange Knowles ‘Don’t Touch My Hair” because it is odd when strangers want to touch your hair, and even more a child. Arie would occasionally be teased by students..’do you wash it?’ Of course – it’s hair!
By the end of junior high, he’d had enough and I’d see them around the house. “What are you doing to your locks?” Arie was slowly cutting them – he was over them. He played AAU basketball and wanted to look more collegiate he said. I could tell he was ready for a change. There are moments in our lives no matter how young or old we are..change becomes necessary. We feel it, we know it. The thing is to embrace change – don’t fight it.
Cutting his hair prior to the start of high school was probably more emotional for me. Hair carries a lot of energy and I was so accustomed to seeing his lion mane. I saved some of them in a ziplock and then made an appointment for his first trip to the barbershop.
From that point, it seems time really flew as he became a young man..junior varsity and varsity hoopster..then college student off to NYC. His interest is business and finance. Arie is a hard worker too. Instilling a strong work ethic in both is something to be proud of.
We have to allow our children to grow and be who they want to be while giving them the proper tools and foundation while raising them. Cherish the moments at each stage, time goes fast.
I love both my children more than words can convey. Being their Mom is the jewel of my life. Keeps me grounded..even though they no longer live at home. I value our relationship, and the fact they keep teaching me things too.
I still can’t believe Arie can grow a beard!
Happy Birthday Arie!! I love you beyond the unigalagalala-unigalaxy!
My son Arie celebrated his 22nd birthday October 17. It’s always a time of celebration and reflection for me, as his Mom as well. Away from the spotlight, my priority when they were growing up was to be present in their lives. I’m still present and involved though that role has changed an morphed into something different since both are young adults now. It’s not easy to be the child of someone the public knows. I’ve shielded them from the public wanting them to maintain their anonymity, keep them grounded, validated and confident in who they are. However, I’m like most proud Mom’s – sometimes you just want to brag a bit of how awesome your children are and how much you love them. I asked his permission before posting to ask if it was OK for me to share on my social media pages – he said yes. He is the best son in the world. I’m so proud of how responsible and solid of a young man he is, loving, kind hearted, funny, hard working, intelligent and handsome of course. I miss his presence being home – but proud that he is in college in New York studying business laying the groundwork to fulfill his ambitions, dreams and personal happiness in a city he’s always loved. He’s also held a part time job since high school – which is something instilled in both children, a strong work ethic. I miss dressing up for Halloween, playing action heroes, and so much more from when he was little – my favorite guy in the world. I don’t miss getting him off of World of Warcraft to do homework in junior high! Now, we FaceTime, text, share funny memes, and talk nearly every day. I cherish our relationship and bond. I am inspired by my son Arie and my daughter Lauren.
Here’s to Arie – the best son in the universe!! I was there for his 21st (pictured in collage) and can’t wait to see him next week when I travel to New York for a visit and belated birthday celebration.
Jody Watley backstage with Stevie Wonder, Salt n Pepa, Spinderella and Herby LuvBug and Brown Mark from Prince and The Revolution – 1988 Stevie Wonder MTV Special.
I had the honor to duet with one my my music heroes Stevie Wonder in 1988 for his MTV Music Special “Characters.” As a 7th grader with a group called Black Fuzz (because we all wore big afro’s) we performed “Superstitious.” Fast forward to me singing with him – my smiles, nerves and shyness nearly got the best of me. Then add to it the fact Stevie sang one of my songs and knocked it out of the park, botched lyrics and all. It’s a fond memory. It was also an honor to have shared the stage with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Salt n Pepa who were also musical guests. Read the archived article from JET Magazine: HERE
On the eve of my birthday, my friend Christos Garkinos of Decades Inc. and the forthcoming new Bravo TV series “Dukes of Melrose” took me out to dinner to the chic Fig and Olive on Melrose Place. As always, a fun time was had by all!
One of my favorite birthday’s occurred over the span of a few days in Japan a few years ago – my tour manager Van Roy and band surprised me during standing room only shows at Billboard Live in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka. They stopped the show in Osaka as I was ready to go into the next song. My drummer Donnell Spencer Jr. had stepped from behind the drums and walked to the microphone with me thinking initially that he’d lost his mind! The band DJ Bill Coleman said the look on my face was priceless. Donnell then started making a speech as a cake was brought out and everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. At at point I was nearly in tears. Thinking that was it – they totally got me again in Fukuoka. The cake was spectacular and once again the moment priceless.
I’m very fortunate to work with such wonderful and thoughtful people – we always have a great time when we get together.
Being full of gratitude for each day – I’m happy to have another full circle around the sun.