LL Cool J is open about his family values.
The rapper and his wife, Simone, have four adult children ― Najee, Italia, Samaria and Nina. Over the years, he’s spoken about his approach to parenting in various interviews and public appearances.
In honor of his Jan. 14 birthday, here are seven quotes about fatherhood from LL Cool J:
On Not Raising Spoiled Kids
“This is the real world. They are real people. And I’m a blue-collar guy at the end of the day. … I’m not going to raise spoiled kids that just don’t know what the real world is like, who think they don’t have to do anything to contribute.”
On His Hopes For His Kids
“They gotta do what they feel is right for them. I won’t allow anyone to set the bar for them, you know. I put my hands on them and tell them look, you be who you want to be. I tell my son you don’t have to be LL Cool J. You don’t have to be something that’s like LL Cool J in order to be a success and don’t allow the world to force you to believe or make you believe that that’s what you have to be. You be who you want to be. Just be successful.”
“Look, being a working parent is about sacrifice, right? Prime example, I have a dog and I’m allergic to dogs. That’s a perfect example. [Laughs] You know what I mean. I’m sneezing, my eyes are red, I’m using eye drops. I got a daughter who loves a dog, [so] I got to have a dog. It’s crazy. What can I do?”
On Spending Time With His Children
“Every one of them is different. And it’s about what they want to do. I make it about them.”
On Empowering His Kids
“I just try to lead by example, encourage them [and] make sure they can do anything they put their minds to. I’ve always been really trying to teach them to believe in themselves and not be limited.”
On His Daughter Asking For Gift For Getting All A’s
“I expect you to get all A’s. Why would I get you a present? … I think it’s obvious we grew up in different neighborhoods. I would take you out for ice cream.”
On His Growing Family
“It’s about love, staying focused, believing in yourself and believing in the power of your dreams. Believing that anything you put your mind to, you can do. And this one is for the future generations, baby! We are taking it to new heights and new levels. We’re focused and we’re clear. And it’s a beautiful thing.”