Months ago Reel Reality had the pleasure to sit down and speak with a beautiful Haitian family, The Antoine’s. Reel Reality had a question and answer interview with father and daughter about the importance of having a healthy relationship with your father. They also got into the importance of family legacy and what that looks like for the Antoine family. Read their powerful interview below!
Reel Reality: Can you both please introduce yourselves?
Yvon Antoine: Hi my name is Yvon Francis Antoine. I was born in Haiti. I’m a psycho technologist,which is the study of cancer cells, that means I do cancer screening tests at NYU medical center.
Jihan Antoine: I’m Jihan Antoine. I’m a publicist. In addition to publicity, I’m a real estate agent and a writer.
RR: Jihan can you tell me why your dad is so important to you?
JA: My dad is important to me because he provides a type of counseling that I can’t describe. Beyond being a father he’s an incredible listener. He’s one of my biggest challenges, because I feel like he continues to push me to the best person I can be. There’s that kind of relationship there, where he pushes me to be myself in all realms and things that make me happy. So the importance, which is an understatement, is literally the other half of me and I try to embody all the things he’s taught to me. Anything he’s a teacher.
RR: What do you think was the most important thing you’ve taught to Jihan growing up?
YA: Number one, I should say something about, I am a divorcee. I realized once I left the house, my daughter was five years old, and then I realized I didn’t divorce my daughter so therefore my daughter have to be in my life. She also have a brother and as a father, I realized, those kids have to have stability, regardless of anything. I make sure since then, and I said I will never leave my children.
RR: Why are you so proud to be a descendant of Antoine?
JA: We have this family kind of mentality, that the Antoine name is a name to be so proud of. First of all there is a lot of us, and its just been this credo that once your an Antoine you need to embody a certain pedigree, and that is a fearless leader. Someone that is independent, and the thing about my family in general, is we always want the best for ourselves whatever passions we have. Those tactics, and embodying those lessons that he’s really pushed us and instill in us, as well as my siblings, we all have done it in the family and just having that kind of mindset is important.
First and foremost, friendship is crucial, love will always be there, the family name will always be there, but to actually want to be other around each other, is something that we enjoy a lot.
RR: What is the most important thing you want Jihan to pass down to her children?
YA: We always stress education, it’s very important. Yes, that’s the most important thing. She sees that in her siblings, her nephews, her cousins, everybody else. We all try to strive as much as we can, and it works.
JA: It’s an Antoine thing.
YA: Coming from Haiti we didn’t speak one word of English. Education is number one, not only to try to be something in life but to understand life itself. To understand what is going on in the human society, is very important. People cannot tell you, you cannot do this, you cannot do that because we all have the same brain, that same amount of chromosomes, the same everything. I always tell my daughter or my son, and everybody else, you can do it, you can do whatever you want.
RR: Explain the importance of having a father in a young woman’s life?
JA: Not just from my surrounding circle just from what I’ve observed. I’ve seen a lot of relationships that have been strong or stronger with a mother, the commonalities are there, you’ve shared experiences that your mother has went through as a young women and as an adult woman. But I’m always proud of the relationship I have, and as my dad said earlier he doesn’t necessary have to be in the house to have a big presence.
I can’t stress how important it is having that relationship and that friendship with your father. Regardless of the circumstances, as much as we need our mothers, we need to have a presence of his strength, and these leaders, and the tyrants of protection. I can not stress the importance of a health relationship with your father and to be able to have a candid and honest, and continuously growing relationship wit your father.
RR: What is your legacy?
JA: My legacy is to continue to inspire people to not give up, especially when they’ve fallen. It is a family credo, it is a mantra to continue to push, because ultimately your happiness is first. The legacy is to continue to just pursue and push and continue.
YA: Mine is a very simple one. Education! Education! Education! Do not let anybody tell you, that you can’t do it, with that you’ll see the difference.