I think almost every mother, celebrity or not, will admit that they had to "wing it" a time or two during their motherhood journey and they didn't always get it right. Recently Selah Marley, the eldest daughter of singer Lauryn Hill and entrepreneur Rohan Marley, took to social media to verbally sort through some events in her childhood that, she says, have caused a lasting effect on her. The young model detailed the dual long-term effects of her father not being around a lot as well as her mother physically disciplining her and her siblings.
In a now deleted two-hour Instagram Live video, Selah detailed how her parents constant arguing would keep her awake at night and how she "just kept crying and crying and crying".
She said that this was all done from a place of trying to "heal" herself and was not intended for viewers to track down her parents and bash them which, of course, they did. Rohan Marley issued a statement via social media saying:
"Selah's expression on Instagram is a healing process for her. I'm very happy that she is fearless in her expression," wrote Rohan through his publicist. "I love her very much and do apologize for any contributions I may have added by arguing in front of her as a child. I've grown as a man, a spiritual being and a father. I am constantly growing and will teach my children to always take the higher road in any disagreements. I will be there for her no matter how many hours, days, months or years it will take. I will be the best Dad that I can be. One Love."
While Rohan's response was short and sweet, Lauryn, being the lyricist that she is, got a little wordy with hers and gave an even deeper glimpse into where she was mentally at the time she was raising her older children.
"When I realized that the pressure on me was so incredibly hypocritical and unfair, criminal even, that even my children weren’t allowed to be children, I stepped away. I wasn’t removed, I STEPPED AWAY. Weening myself and my family from the addictions that systems of control attempt to use through fame and celebrity is no joke. It’s painful and people were not above using my children to keep exploiting me.
Keeping a child sober minded in the midst of everyone trying to seduce and bribe and coerce is an incredibly challenging thing to do. Sell a few million copies of a recording and see the wolves and sharks for yourself before you determine what’s appropriate and what’s not. The danger was REAL! And this danger I faced alone, unsupported as I should have been, and dumped on by the same people who only a few years before built a fortune off the same gifts they later tried to deny and then COPY."
She went on to say that "Selah is on a road to healing and contextualizing her childhood, and is allowed her process, but if you come for me, come for your own mama, and those absent fathers—come for them too, your grandparents, your great grand parents, your great great grand parents, your great great great grand parents, Caribbean parents, African parents and everyone else damaged and judged for being black and forced to conform and assimilate to western standards of ‘order’ shaped through the filter and lens of anti-blackness." If you'd like to read her entire dissertation, you can do so by clicking "See More" below.
This had to be incredibly hard for Selah and her parents to face in front of millions. As a parent, I've had to face things that my child would have preferred that I'd handled differently in my parenting. It feels both like an attack and a disappointment to know that where you thought you were doing something "right" you actually caused a scar on the one person you were trying to protect.
There was one point in Ms. Hill's response where she said "My children are strong-willed and powerful, better I discipline them at home than have them shot down in the streets or locked up. They are not necessarily passive people, and they’re also learning how to navigate a world full of beauty but also full of danger. This was in no way easy to do as a single parent battling a public attack for not conforming, and single-handedly financially responsible for so many." This is the reality for a lot of mothers, no matter their background, who believe that they are doing the best they can just to stay above water.
This family issue has reminded us all that we need to be kinder to one another. We don't know what another person is going through or what they're in the process of healing from. To all the single mothers out there, be kinder to yourself as well.