New mom Rhonda Ross Kendrick — daughter of legendary Diana Ross and Berry Gordy – gets personal from her feelings on growing up with Michael Jackson to her mom’s babysitting skills. Plus, the honorary chair of Heart’s of Gold, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of New York City’s homeless mothers and their children, fills Breezy Mama in on tonight’s fundraising event, her essential baby product and more.
How is being a new mother?
I am COMPLETELY in love with my newborn son, Raif. I knew I was going to be. I’ve wanted to be a mother for a long time, but –like most parents– the depth and scope of my love for this child simply takes my breath away. My husband and I are loving every minute of it!
Has your mom babysat yet?
This is my mother’s first grandchild and, suffice to say, she is having a BALL! She was by my side throughout the entire pregnancy and birth and now, though she still travels and tours, she spends all of her free time with her new grandson! We’ve done all the “firsts” together…first diaper change, first feedings, first bath. It’s been SO AMAZING!
Does your mom sing to him?
Not only does my mother sing to Raif, but she wrote a gorgeous song for him! It will probably be on her next record. When she sang it to me, I cried.
Was Michael Jackson a part of your life?
I’ve known Michael and the Jackson family my whole life. Jermaine was married to my sister Hazel Gordy and together they have 3 children — my niece and nephews. There was a time — up until my twenties — that Michael and I were especially close. He was a kind and loving soul, a brilliant artist and performer. It’s still hard to believe that he is gone. We will miss him forever.
Is your mom coping okay with his passing?
We’re all taking it one day at a time.
Will you see Michael Jackson’s This Is It?
Having a 3 month old makes it hard to carve out the time to get to the movie theater, but I have heard that the movie is brilliant and really shows Michael as the brilliant artist and compassionate soul that he was. I can’t wait to see it.
With your husband being a Jazz musician, is your child drawn to music?
Raif LOVES music. Okay…I know he’s only 3 months old, but he really loves it!! Not only do I play music for him all the time – all kinds: Jazz, Gospel, and Classical, but we put him in his bouncy seat near Rodney’s piano while he practices and, even at 3 months old, he listens and watches for 20 – 30 minutes at a time! He even seems to tap his foot! Like an adult, my son is mesmerized by the sounds that his father pulls out of that instrument. It’s quite amazing to witness.
What has been the hardest part for you since becoming a mom?
Before becoming a mother, I was a wife, an artist, a speaker, a philanthropist, and an entrepreneur. These things kept me very busy and fulfilled. Of course, now that I am a mother, I am still all those things and they still keep me busy, but now all I want to do is be with my son!
I want to play with him when he’s awake and watch his beautiful face when he’s asleep. I want to read every book and magazine article that will teach me how to best care for him. I want to expose him to all that life has to offer and make sure he knows that –like every child– he can be and do and have anything in this world! Each moment is so precious. In other words, the hardest part of being a mother for me is that ALL I want to do is be with my son and sometimes other things fight for my attention.
What is your favorite part?
Every single moment.
What’s your must-have baby product?
Information. I know that may sound weird, but I believe all parents should do their best to be armed with information – information about child development, nutrition, safety, vaccines, education — everything! We must do the research, understand each and every question that is being asked of us, and make informed decisions. This is the Information Age, after all, there is nothing we can’t know! We can’t get this precious and important time back.
How did you get involved with Hearts of Gold?
I was introduced to Deborah Koenigsberger at a recent Hearts of Gold Gala and instantly fell in love with her and the organization. I could feel the passion that she has for these women and children and how much she loves them and want to make difference in their lives. I also saw the impact HoG has had on the women and children that it has touched and I knew that I HAD to be a part of an organization that was so “hands on” and showed such quick and tangible results.
What has been the most rewarding experience since being involved?
Knowing that just a little bit of time and effort can go such a long way in making a difference in someone’s life. I have been so blessed in my life and it feels good to “give back.” It is all of our responsibilities to serve our fellow man – human to human, mother to mother. I hope your readers find a way to get involved with HoG, too — at whatever level they can! A little bit goes a long way and it’ll make them feel so good to know they are making a difference.
Anything else you want to share?
Heart’s of Gold is holding its Annual Fundraising Gala on November 12 and I am serving as its Honorary Chair. It is quite an honor to be part of this organization! On this advisory board, I serve along side Tamara Tunie, Marcia Gay Harden, Vanessa L. Williams and Soledad O’Bien, all of whom will be with me at the gala. Please join me (click here for ticket info ) in support of these worthy women and children! It’s going to be a great night!
|To download The Best of Diana Ross, click here:
To download The Essential Michael Jackson Songs, click here:
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