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 Denny’s, though I know that the new H Street Trolley will change all of that.
“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.”