You’ve heard from Toya Graham, aka “Mom of the Year” from the Baltimore riots, and now her son is speaking out about his actions and why he’s thankful his mother dragged him away from the crowd.
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Graham and her son Michael Singleton give their accounts of the viral moment. Singleton says his actions stemmed from losing friends who died at the hands of police officers. Because of the tension and protests that happened over the weekend, Graham warned her son Monday morning to stay clear of any trouble.
The 16-year-old ignored his mother’s wishes and followed his friends who were throwing bricks at police officers near Mondawmin Mall. After locking eyes with his mother in the crowd, he knew bigger problems were headed his way.
“My friends were down there, my friends have been beaten by police, killed by police, so I felt I needed to go down there to show my respect,” he told Cooper. “[When I saw my mom] I was like, ‘Oh man. What is my mother doing down here?”
Singleton says the incident was more than tough love.
“I was embarrassed a little bit, until she just started talking to me when we got home,” he said. “(She was) just telling me she did it because she cared about me. And it wasn’t to embarrass me, but because she cared.”
Graham has been praised for her actions, but the mother of six has also been slammed for allegedly being abusive to her only son. When asked if she was worried about embarrassing her son, she had this say:
“Not at all,” Toya Graham told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360˚… “He was embarrassing himself by wearing that mask and that hoodie and doing what he was doing.”
Tensions have eased down in Baltimore since Monday, with officials citing the 10 p.m. curfew as an important factor in the reduction of looters.