This family of nine is not here to justify their large family.
Aaron and Latovia Cheatham of Phoenix, Ariz., are the proud parents of seven children (Maliah, Jordyn, AJ, Ariana, Olivia, Brandon-Michael and Josie), whose ages range from 8 years to 11 months old. Recently, the family went viral after Aaron and Latovia shared a short video on their Instagram using the song "Whole Lotta Choppas" by Sada Baby, which has been popular on TikTok. In the video, the parents dance into a room with two triple-stacked bunk beds and then each of their elder six children suddenly appear in the beds while Latovia held their youngest.
"Them: Y'all have too many kids. Us: And we love and take care of all of them," they wrote in subtitles featured in the video.
They captioned the post, "Mind yo damn business!!!...but FOLLOW us."
As of Tuesday, the video has been liked over 50,000 times and gotten nearly 1 million views and people could not get enough of the adorable family.
"Omg .. I really hate when people say that about me n my husband n our family like y’all got too many kids n y’all ain’t done yet like .. bye Felicia," one commenter wrote in part.
"The fact that her knees can do that after 7 children," someone said.
"I know that’s right! Haha," another person added.
Aaron tells Yahoo Life that the responses have been "overwhelmingly positive."
"In many ways, it has boosted our confidence and reaffirmed that which we have already known. Our family unit is unique, big and beautiful," he says.
Latovia adds that the family has dabbled a bit on YouTube, but their struggles connecting with each other during the pandemic inspired them to find other ways to come together.
"After the first couple of months of binge watching our favorite shows and never seeing the kids without a tablet in their face, we became fed up with the distance and the wasting away in front of our devices," she explains. "We took a long look at ourselves and were disgusted. So we got up and just became active in the house. It inspired us to get more creative with how we spend time with our family even if we were on lockdown," she says. "We had dabbled with YouTube but the pandemic gave us the opportunity to up our social media presence."
Their kids convinced them to join TikTok and a video they created showing them lipsyncing the "Act Up ABCs" by Wesley Padilla went viral in October. They've amassed close to 100,000 followers on the platform since then.
When former President Trump threatened to shut down TikTok, the Cheathams began focusing primarily on their Instagram account where they shared photos and videos of their family having fun, and expressing their love for each other, something that meant a lot to their followers with them being a Black family.
"We would receive extremely heartwarming comments and messages of how our family unit is beautiful and inspirational. Many people requested more of this imagery. Actually, it was demanded. Can you believe that there was a demand to see a positive representation of the black family unit? Since we got on Instagram that became our why. We quickly realized it was bigger than just our large family having fun and sharing it with social media. It has become more so about being a wholesome, loving, fun, energetic, beautiful representation of the big Black family unit. We are changing the narrative of the stereotypical big family as well as the Black family," Aaron explains.
While they received a warm welcome, there were also negative comments. Aaron notes that they've gotten trolling comments like "learn how to use protection," "they must be on welfare" and "they are killing the planet with overpopulation." But their recent viral video was in response to one of the most common remarks they receive.
"All of our content is inspired by some real-life experience that we have had," he says. "If you look through the comments section of any one of our posts there is always at least one person that says 'Y'all have too many kids.' This video was fun and funny but also a sincere way to address those people. The other thing that inspires us is that we are also trying to connect with our audience. These criticisms are a very real thing for many big families and so this was also a way to speak for them as well."
Aaron hopes that by addressing the comments head-on, it will curb the negative stereotypes many large, particularly Black large families face. But at the end of the day, he makes it clear that the negativity does not take away from the best part about having a large family, which is being surrounded by "a bunch of people that love you the most."
"There are so many different personalities, so many different energy levels and so many different individual superpowers," he says. "This makes our home a playground for everlasting memories."
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