The Coolest Black Family in America, No. 23: The Woods
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the fact that you are responsible for this life… I also didn’t know how difficult it would be. I did not respect the role like I should have before I became a mom. It’s a great job and a huge responsibility.” Luckily, she has a village: her mom, her godsister and other relatives.

Sharene’s husband believes that families who thrive put God first and then believe in each other, because you will not always agree. And that’s cool too. “But you got to have respect for each other,” he says. “If one person drops the ball, we don’t look down on them. We just pick up the ball and keep running. You’re going to make mistakes. We might razz them a little bit after, but at the end of the day we’re all going for the common goal.”

“We are truly family-owned and operated,” Sharene says. “We work together, we are cooperative. No selfish ideas of living.” Continuing, she says, “I don’t think it’s tied to money as many people think. Progress is important and having a purpose-driven life. Creating a transferable legacy, a history to look back on and leaving this world a better place for your family, that is success.”

The Coolest Black Family in America is an EBONY.com original series: an ongoing look at the intricacies, layers and compelling beauty of African-American family life. Of course, The Coolest Black Family is not one family but many. In fact, we’ve found that there are as many Coolest Black Families as there are versions of cool. Also consider: family doesn't always mean mother + father + kids. What defines family is connected hearts and supported souls. Ride with us weekly as we crisscross the country in search of kinfolk whose cool is so palpable and real, it comes second only to their love. Think your cool fam qualifies? Email us at digitalpitches@ebony.com (with Coolest Black Family in the subject line)!

Joicelyn Dingle travels to find the Coolest Black Family in America exclusively for EBONY.com. She splits her time between Savannah and Brooklyn. She is currently completing a documentary on the making of Honey magazine and the 1990s urban publishing era. Friend her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @editorialgenius.