Raising Yung Bredda- Michael Mondezie

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No matter how heavy a burden it becomes to bear you can never, ever give up on your children.The sheer conviction of that Mother’s Day plea from Cindy Ann Lewis-Cuffy made the hairs on the back of the neck stand tall on Friday morning.lewis-Cuffy, the mother of Sea Lots-born soca/dancehall crossover star Yung Bredda (Akhenaton Lewis),says that message carries even more weight for single parents because “when they give up, their children will have no one”.“I want to talk to single parents, because it have single fathers too, doh ever give up on yuh children. Ithard. I won’t say it won’t be hard, it could be really hard especially if yuh doh have parents, the grandparents around,” Lewis-Cuffy told the Kitcharee during a moving 10:30 a.m. phone conversation.

Lewis-Cuffy knows all too well the challenges of raising children on your own. The Sea Lots-born mother of three — Nefertiti 36, Niomi 27 and Akhenaton 24– says in the most difficult of times she would turn to two important figures in her life, her late mother Theresa Harris and her heavenly father.“Yuh know what make it ah lil easier? Yuh have to believe in God. Yuh have to trust God. I go through it.Late nights. Yuh have to work. Children have to go to school. Yuh have to feed them. Organise clothes.Mike sure they happy. People doh see that. If yuh have yuh partner is a shared experience but I was physically alone.“But I am a person that pray a lot. When the going get really tough I used to go and sit down in church.

At the time I had my mom so I used to go to her and cry and say mammy I can’t take this no more andused to say ‘hold on, yuh go make it’,” she recalled.It’s ok for parents to have vulnerable moments and allow themselves to break down, Lewis-Cuffy said.

That is once hold on to a deep determination to get back up.“When I used to feel so overwhelmed, I will cry for a day maybe for ah week, then I get the strength and try again. Yuh cyah give up because they day you give up they won’t have anybody else fighting for them. Ask God to open a way not only for your child but for yourself so you can stand and be strong,”she advised.Reaping the fruits of blood, sweat and tears Today, Lewis-Cuffy’s resolve has been repaid 10-fold. All of her children “are holding their own” she says. And it must be noted her youngest is a rising regional musical trendsetter whose talents already in demand across the globe.

“I am extremely proud. I am so proud of him,” Lewis-Cuffy exhaled, her voice dropping to a near whisper with the weight of the emotion.“I knew he would do something with his life, but I didn’t expect it to be where it reach today. That part shock meh a lil bit. But I am really thankful to God that he guide him and my prayers and meh crying and begging wasn’t in vain. He not no bad boy and he still have the precept that there is a God. That is how I brought up my children to believe there is a God and nothing is impossible with him,” she continued.

Lewis-Cuffy remembers her only son, affectionately called Kenny, as a boy who could not sit still.“Akenathon was always a gifted child. He never stay one place. He always moving, moving. His hands were never still. From a young age three or four he will take the pot sit down and beat the pot, beat the bucket. At the age of seven when I realise he always making music, I bought him a drum and chac chac and I say boy you have gifted hands,” she continued in full voice.

“Then he started to write me poetry. I say Akhenaton why yuh doh put music to it, he had books and books of poems. At the time I was getting complaints about him being disruptive in school so I figured it will settle him down, yuh know? When I hear de music he start doing I say boy all this kind of crazy thing? Ah say why yuh doh write meh ah gospel,” she laughed in reference to Yung Bredda’s now popular raunchy content.

Above all Lewis-Cuffy says she is thankful that she has maintained a close relationship with her son,saying they both still have each other’s ear.“According to de saying ‘we have ah good ting going’. We really close! That doh mean to say as the old people does say: ‘teeth and tongue doh clash’ but we have a real, real good relationship. No matter defame he is de same Kenny, at least when it comes to me. I doh believe there is anything going on in his life that I doh know about. Ah mean it go have lil private tings he go tell he girlfriend, but other than that, he tells me everything,” she beamed.

Lewis-Cuffy says if she could have anything in the world for Mother’s Day she would want her late mother at their side for the day.“I wish my mother woulda be here with me today to see her grandchildren and her great grandchildren,how they turned out. No one has a police record. No one is sitting in no prison. They may not have thestatus society want them to have as a doctor or a lawyer for yuh to be ‘somebody’, but each of them holding they own.

“I just always wanted my children to be happy. I doh look for nothing beyond that. If I get something from them today, great, but once my children good, grandchildren good, after God, I good!” Lewis-Cuffy

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