*You may know him as Yazz the Great, star of the hit show “Empire.” He brings many things to the table. His acting skills are impeccable. His musical skills are undeniable.
What many don’t talk about is the mother that got him there. Many don’t talk about the struggle it took to get there and the hard work and diligence that she had to put in to ensure that he made it there, despite his early diagnosis of ADHD.
The stellar parenting of Andria Mayberry, the mother of rapper and actor Bryshere Gray cannot be denied.
Let’s first address the elephant in the room, Jussie Smollett and his ongoing drama with Chicago PD. From the moment that this began, the revelation of the actor’s attack possibly being set-up on the actor’s part, Andria has been firm in the fact that she has nothing but love for Jussie. “When I talked to Jussie, I told him that I loved him.” No judgment, just love. That is the epitome of Ms. Mayberry, a mother in every sense of the word. Her instinct is to love, nurture and be a part of a solution, not the problem. When it would be understandable for her to be negative and resentful of a person bringing pessimism to a project that her son works hard to help make successful, she takes the high road and asserts her maternal powers of love and understanding. “I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened but what I do know is that this young man needs love.”
Andria does not just speak these words, she lives them. As Byshere Gray’s mother, she has made the decision to take all that she has done, all that she has learned and help other mothers to be the best that they can for their kids, especially those in the entertainment industry and those with disabilities. Andria founded Ms. Berry Cares, to empower and encourage parents, Momagers of any industry, especially entertainment, to navigate through the trickery, while advocating and looking out for their kids’ best interest. “My calling is to educate, empower, and encourage the parents to stay involved in the dreams of their children,” Ms. Mayburry states.
Andria also teaches parents to fight for their children with disabilities. There is so much that goes into this process, nobody should be subjected to having to figure it out on their own. There is the initial diagnosis and coming to terms with the fact that your child may not be “normal”. Post-diagnosis involves prescription medications, school IEPs, avoiding triggers and navigating daily life with a new diagnosis. Andria goes into more details in her book Before Empire. She shared different anger management situations that came up with Byshere, throwing things and being highly volatile along with stepping in and stopping her son from taking Ritalin, and ordering his heart to be tested regularly because he was an athlete on medication. She not only pours into parents with her knowledge and roadmap to navigating the process, but she also shares intimate moments about how she helped her son cope with his ADHD. “I feel it is important for parents to educate themselves on their child’s disorder. This will allow them to be better advocates for their children.” She spoke with me in depth about the importance of not only understanding the circumstances of a child’s disorder but the biological effects of the medications prescribed. Understanding the side effects of medication can be the difference in your child living a fulfilled life or a limited existence.
Andria Mayberry has been in the nursing field for almost 2 decades and has no plans to abandon the profession that has allowed her to provide for her 2 kids all of these years. She had her daughter Brea after high school and Bryshere 2 years later. Her abusive relationship would lead her to be a single mother but never without help or solid finances. She continued to work, sometimes multiple jobs, to provide for her kids. With her father’s help, Andria provided for her children and supported their dreams and desires.
Even when times got tough, Ms. Mayburry said, “Always put God first. I didn’t pray for food or water. I prayed for wisdom because wisdom will help me get what I need.”
Having a baby brother with a disability can understandably leave a young girl with a bit of resentment. Byshere’s sister, Brea, started to exhibit negative feelings based on the attention that her brother was getting. This caused distention in the relationship with her and her mother. This dynamic has since reversed course. A new understanding has blossomed because Brea’s son has been diagnosed with ADHD. She is now experiencing the same obstacles that her mother went through but with the awesome blessing of having her mother’s knowledge, experience, and support.
Past the struggles, the abuse, the obstacles, and the necessary sacrifices, Andria has rolled all of her experience, passion, and love into a new project that she launched last year, Moms Who ROC (Raising our Children). This event is a big thank you to moms with awards, recognition, self-care, therapy, conversations, and an all-male panel that travels to different states. It is empowering. It is celebratory. It is everything that hardworking moms don’t get enough of. Moms Who Roc may be coming to a city near you.
“As a mother, educate children. Be aware. Don’t let others change your character. Make sure that you get out and vote,“ wise words from a wise woman.
Tonya McKenzie is a PR Consultant & freelance journalist covering politics, youth issues, and non-fiction authors. She is based in Redondo Beach, CA. Contact her at [email protected].