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Carl and Seshat on Kids as Therapy (By Danny Harris)

by Prince Of Petworth February 2, 2010 at 11:30 am 14 Comments

From left to right, Seshat, Dahvi, Carl, and Phina.

Danny Harris is a DC-based photographer, DJ, and collector of stories. In September, he launched People’s District, a blog that tells a people’s history of DC by sharing the stories and images of its residents. Every day, People’s District presents a different Washingtonian sharing his or her insights on everything from Go Go music to homelessness to fashion to politics. You can read his previous columns here.

Carl – “My name is Carl. Some call me Kokayi. I’m a native Washingtonian who was born and raised mainly in Southwest D.C., and partially in Mannheim, Germany. I’ve been to over 35 countries, all without being in the military, taught hip-hop clinics at prestigious universities, worked with the State Department doing cultural exchanges with my band, had two major label record deals in a foreign country, got nominated for a Grammy in 2009 — all while remaining in relative obscurity. I still work on music, but have a full-time job, mostly because I became a realist about my love affair with music and the realities of the modern music business.

“I’m a parent to two hilarious kids who are my therapy. I never thought that I’d be able to have kids. It was my biggest fear throughout my early 20’s. I feel blessed to be able to spend my time on this rock with them, watching them grow and seeing them prosper into great adults. Until I met my wife, I had very little belief in stable relationships. I wanted one, but didn’t believe they could exist for me. She helped redirect my life’s course and is my best: friend, critic, motivator, source of truth, and publicist, and is the one I’ve entrusted with my heart, fears and insecurities, all of which I know she would never harm intentionally.”

Seshat – “I was a small-town, country girl from the Eastern Shore. I graduated from a university in rural Pennsylvania and threw myself into an unknown city to live and intern at one of the largest homeless shelters on the East Coast. I created programs for the women residents, taught GED classes and worked the women’s floor. To say it was a life-changing experience is to put it mildly. Now, I’m a mama, wife, writer and playwright residing in Northeast D.C. I have a love for Ward 7. Our neighbors are friendly and look out for one another. We love walking. Our house is charming, which is a classy word for small. I hate that our only sit-down restaurant is Dennys, though I know that the new H Street Trolley will change all of that. Continues after the jump.

“My husband and I met when I was hired by his band mate to be a publicist for their hip-hop band. We became good friends out of sharing our stories of unrequited love and failed relationships. We got married in Malcolm X Park on August 26th, 2000. My husband is my best friend. I believe being best friends has allowed our marriage to survive so far. We can tell each other everything and anything. I believe that, in a marriage, you have to agree to disagree. We go through it like anyone else because we’re both very strong-willed. But we usually get over our disagreements quickly. We both have a sick sense of humor and believe that our kids are the best entertainment in the world. My daughter, Phina, is a natural debater, music snob, public defender, bookworm and girly girl. My son, Dahvi, is a block-builder, architect, designer, mini-paleontologist, and stand-up comedian, and espouses random facts. People have come to us over time wondering how we are raising kids in such an expensive city with sucky schools. There’s no manual for this. Our parenting skills straddle somewhere between the traditional and ‘how-about-we-do-this’ approach. This is what works for us:

1) Teach our kids to always tell the truth.
2) Teach our kids not to be afraid of their own people.
3) Teach our kids to stick up for themselves.
4) No TV during the week and little on the weekends.
5) Put our kids into a great, diverse charter school that challenges them and makes them think about their place in the world.
6) Take them to every free, age-appropriate educational and cultural event we can.

“For the most part, my kids are pretty good kids. I believe my kids have some edge living in the city, yet they remain kids. They’re still sensitive, innocent and inquisitive. They also get to go visit my parents in the country a couple of times a year, which balances it out. Personally, I can live either in a city or the country. I can’t do the suburbs. We are planning to purchase a property this year. It’s not easy in this land of overpriced, big-on-features but, small-on-space condos. We’re going to make it work somehow. Laughing helps.”

  • Mal

    Great post. I really like these People’s District posts by Danny Harris. I especially like the quote “Our house is charming, which is a classy word for small” – I use charming in that sense all the time.

    You guys sound like wonderful parents – keep it going!

  • MK

    They are wonderful. I wish all the luck on earth for them.

  • jcm

    This is a really terrific series. I think it’s may favorite part of PoP. Keep up the good work.

    • Bitter Elitist

      mine too

  • Victoria

    This story made my day – I think we should all chip in and buy them a house just so they stay in the city!

  • This is beautiful. Many blessings to Seshat, Kokayi and their tribe.

  • Awesome sounding family, and hope they do stay in the city!

  • cookietime420

    My God, who are these people? They are so beautiful!

  • Great story about raising kids in the city. Yay charters!

  • Lanisa

    Cute post.

  • snow bunny

    Lovely portrait of a great family. The city is the place for them! Kids have the best of both worlds, learning about museums and learning street-smarts in DC and getting the thrill of visiting grandparents in the country during their vacations…

  • DCster

    Its good to see the restrictions on TV watching they practice. I grew up watching way to much TV a day – hours when I could have been doing so much else. I’m glad Carl was able to surpass his hesitations about having kids and do right by them.

  • Nancy M.

    Every single word is true.
    Love them so much.

  • Sean J

    Thems my peeps… just being true to themselves and telling it. Great article, series and effort; may it catch fire and grow to be the norm.


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