Actress and comedienne Kym Whitley is everything you assumed she’d be; instantly likable, warm and funny.
Whitley also keeps it real, a rarity in show business. Whitley’s story is that of a woman who had been living her dream, as an employed actress loving her job and living her pretty years in Hollywood. One day, one of her young mentees had a son, and the new mom told the hospital staff that she wanted Kym to raise him.
Kym had one hour to decide if she would become a mom, and she said yes. Whitley enlisted a team of close friends and family to become the village to help her raise her son, and this sets the stage for the new series, “Raising Whitley” that airs on Saturdays, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.
Here, Whitley talks to the Six Brown Chicks about her new show, the most important role in her life, being a little Joshua’s mom, and she gives thoughtful advice to other single moms.
What’s the most challenging thing about raising Joshua?
Sometimes I forget that I have a child! (laughs). Like, today he's at daycare, and I have to pick him up by 6 o’clock. And I want to make sure that I instill everything in him, like good food, not too much sugar, and plenty of vegetables because I'm not healthy so I want to make sure I have a healthy child.
“And then we found out that he had food allergies, and that was a big challenge.”
In response, one of the villagers helped Kym develop Don’t Feed Me warning shirts for children. Parents love the shirts.
What’s your best advice for other single moms who may want to develop a village for their children?
“I had a young assistant who came to me in tears one day because her child's father kept flaking and would not spend time with their son. At the same time, she broke up with a guy she was dating, so I said, ‘How about stop adding these different men to your son's life and get just one man, one man who has nothing to do with you and your relationship, and that one man will promise to be in his life for the rest of his life. A godfather, or an uncle, and how about you make it fun for your son? The next time he’s sad, ask him, ‘Hey would you like to have a godfather--someone who will always be there and will never let you down?’ Ask him if he would like to help mommy pick him out.
She came back crying again, but this time it was tears of joy. She said that her son was doing better in school and he's having so much fun picking out the godfather.”
Did the child choose his godfather?
“Her son asked questions, would you be a good godfather? Would you do this and do that? And he ended up taking one of her ex-boyfriends. The guy was honored. It made the son happy it also made another man responsible. This guy has nothing to do with her relationship; she still dates other guys, because the guy has a signed contract with her son. He has other children, but he also incorporates her son because the guy signed a contract to be in her child’s life for the rest of his life.”
Follow Kym Whitley on Twitter: @KymWhitley