A popular belief nowadays is that “everything happens for a reason.” The story of Anesha Hines’ unconventional youthhood affirms this idea and shows how divine the universe really is. At the age of 14, Hines found herself pleading to her mom, “Please momma get this baby out of my stomach! I don’t want a baby.” After being convinced into having sex, she conceived a child only after her second time trying it. This obviously turned her entire life around as she had to, “adjust to being a teenager and a mom.” This came with its challenges as she was deemed “too fast” within her community and was judged tremendously for being a teenage mom, but she preserved.
Hines finished high school and eventually went on to graduate from LeMoyne-Owen College with honors as a first generation student. She didn’t mind having to take her daughter, Zariyah, to class with her, because she was determined to give her the best life a little girl could ask for. Hines remembers how her daughter literally thought she was Beyoncé, after witnessing all of her wonderful major life achievements like pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha and getting her degree. Hines and Zariyah have a powerful bond that’s primarily driven by how transparent Hines’ parenting is.
There’s this general idea within society, and specifically within the Black community, that children are “too young” to learn about how the world works and share their feelings on it. Kids are silenced because of their age and lack of experience compared to adults. Yet in Hines’ story, she had to grow up fast at a severely young age and that was partly due to her lack of knowledge about self-love, safe sex, the reproduction system, and economics. Growing up she wasn’t given the opportunity to have those meaningful and necessary conversations and that led to her being in situations that she wasn’t knowledgeable on. Hines didn’t want her daughter to feel this way, which is why she made keeping an extremely open dialogue a forefront of her parenting.
This is why Hines created her podcast, “The Story of A to Z,” to show the world the tough conversations that she has with her daughter Zariyah. She wants to ensure that she knows about the things in society that directly affect her as a child and will affect her entire life. Hines doesn’t talk down to Zariyah because of her age, because her goal is to “give her the information to handle things with integrity and learn from her mistakes.” She is clear with her daughter that she isn’t perfect and nobody is, so she isn’t scared to come to her mother when she needs help.
On the podcast, they openly talk about things like the Black Lives Matter movement, capitalism, responsibility, and the power of manifestation. In the segment, “The Parent Trap,” kids can anonymously submit questions and dilemmas to their DMs that they don’t feel comfortable asking a trusted adult. Hines and Zariyah answer the questions and discuss the topics to really create an open and non-judgemental environment for their listeners as well.
When Hines tried to get an abortion a protestor told her, “Just believe that God had a plan for your life before you even existed. Try to connect to that and let that be your truth.” It’s clear that Hines did wonders with what the world threw at her, and we can all learn the power of resilience and the importance of open discussion from her experiences. If you want to learn more about Hines’ story and hear her intellectual discussions with Zariyah, follow them on Instagram (@storyof_atoz) and tune in to their episodes of “The Story of A to Z” on their website.
By Kyla Hubbard, Rising Freshman, Florida A&M University