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Mater Mea interviews Mocha Moms, Inc. President Kuae Mattox

See the beautiful spread featuring pictures of her family

 

 

 

Issue No. 50
Montclair, New Jersey

Words: AdeOla Fadumiye
Visuals: Jennifer Currell

Kuae Kelch Mattox has a solid sense of direction and a strong grounding that’s refreshing to encounter. It has served her well as a journalist; a mother of three: Teddi (17), Cole (15), and Evan (11); and as the national president of Mocha Moms, Inc., a national, nonprofit support organization for mothers of color. Mattox has been full of purpose since she was a child growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Back then she was certain of two things: She wanted to be a journalist and she wanted to be a mother.

“I had the benefit of two wonderful parents [and] I grew up in a household as one of three kids,” Mattox says. “Singing, writing, drama, and poetry were celebrated in our home, [as well as] being a parent and having children.”

Mattox’s love for writing took her to the classrooms of Howard University where she earned a degree in print journalism in 1987. After graduation she worked as a reporter, first as an education reporter with the Miami Herald and then as a producer-in-training for The Oprah Winfrey Show. “For a young journalist who was just starting out,” Mattox says, “it blew me away.”

As someone who had “the grand notion of being a Pulitzer Prize winner,” working in television was an unexpected path. “I had no plans to work in television until I received the opportunity with The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she explains, “but it jump started my broadcast journalism career. I learned quite a lot. I worked long hours, worked with different producers, and also brought Oprah her coffee and her water with lemon. Some of it was humbling, but I saw it as an opportunity to take another path.”

In 1990, she moved from Chicago to New York City with her fiancé Ted Mattox, founder of Black Forest Multimedia, a multimedia production company. (The couple met in 1986 and married in 1991.) Mattox moved forward in her broadcast career, working for several networks and shows including ABC News before landing a position as an associate producer at Dateline NBC, where she stayed for five years.

Though Mattox’s professional and personal life were hitting new highs—it was while she was at NBC that she and her husband found out they were pregnant with their daughter, Teddi Noel—she would soon face a major tragedy that would affect the course of her life.

“My mom passed away on December 13, 1997 when my firstborn was 9 months old,” Mattox says. “It was a devastating blow for me and for my family. It was completely unexpected; my mother was 60 years old [and] had a number of medical complications. [She] eventually passed away from pneumonia.

“I made a decision that was contrary to what people [expected],“ she continues. “I knew I wanted to spend more time with my children. We can be here one moment and we can be gone the next.”

Two years later, during her maternity leave with her son Cole, Mattox and her husband discovered they could survive on just one salary. “The fire I used to have as a journalist was also fading,” she says. “It was becoming more and more important to me to be a mother and to focus on my children, and not as important to be a journalist chasing the next story. I began to think maybe this is my window to take some time out from my career to focus on my children and to strengthen them.” 

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The trademark Mocha Moms is a registered trademark of Mocha Moms, Inc.
The trademark Mocha Moms can only be used upon expressed written permission from Mocha Moms, Inc.