All Articles Tagged "fatherhood"

Happy! Pharrell And Wife Helen Lasichanh Expecting Second Baby

September 26th, 2016 - By Allyson Leak
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2015 MTV Video Music Awards Arrivals

Credit: Brian To/WENN.com

“Happy” is definitely a good word to describe musical genius Pharrell Williams. Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh are expecting their second baby according to People.com.

Helen’s baby bump was showing in her stylish Chanel sweater and skirt combo that she wore to N°5 L’EAU party for Chanel at the Sunset Tower hotel in West Hollywood recently.

The couple dated for many years, confirmed their engagement in July of 2013 and were married in October of 2013. The couple has one son Rocket Ayer Williams, 7. Pharrell even dedicated the sweetest lyric on the Despicable Me track “Rocket” to his son that said: “Since you were a thought/Floating around in our minds/We knew that you could teach us/The true meaning of life.”

It’s no surprise that the singer, songwriter, producer, designer and fashion icon was drawn to his wife. Helen is a creative force in her own right. The 36-year-old, who is a model and fashion designer has also been listed on numerous best-dressed lists.

Pharrell has previously talked about the benefits of being married to his best friend and told “Today Show” anchor Savannah Guthrie,: “The bestie thing is awesome. Every night is like a sleepover.” But he’s also talked about how hard he worked to get her. In a 2014 interview with Oprah Winfrey he said they started off as friends because she was in a relationship when they met. He told Oprah: “She didn’t answer half of my text messages (at first),’ and continued ‘Egotistically, no (that didn’t intrigue me).’ ‘I was like, “Oh yeah?” because I had that kind of money and because I had that kind of reach, I thought I was entitled and I had learned that no, she has a boyfriend and she’s not interested.’

After being friends for two years she became single again and Pharrell said: ‘I hurt her a lot in the very beginning once she was free and was available, because I had given her all of this attention but I wasn’t ready to like, let go (of his life as a bachelor)” He went on to say, “I looked at my life and I was like, “Man, I could keep doing this for another 10 years, is that what I want to do?” And so I made a decision. And then we made a decision and just started dating.’

In addition to family life, Pharrell is also using his creative energy and generous spirit to inspire and give back to young people. He established a 501 C3 Not For Profit called From One Hand To AnOTHER to provide educational S.T.E.A.M.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Motivation) related tools needed for the future success of children. According to their site the vision of the organization is to modernize the community center concept by empowering kids to learn through new technologies, arts, and media, offering free after school programs and Summer of Innovation camps.

Pharrell seems like someone who is humble, creative, and motivated and all of that energy will probably rub off on his little ones. He has been quoted saying, “The simplest way to say it is that I think we’re all dealt these cards in life, but the cards in and of themselves don’t read one way or the other. It’s up to you to hone in and cultivate whatever you’ve got in your hand.”

We are wishing the family all the best.

Singledadventures: When My Daughter’s Kindergarten Project Became Complicated

September 26th, 2016 - By Chad Milner
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Chad Milner and Cydney

Chad Milner and Cydney

My daughter ran out of the classroom elated on her first day of kindergarten. After reintroducing me, Cydney’s teacher said with a smile “Cydney is very funny! She has a lot of personality. I’m going to have to stay on my toes with this one!” My mother and I both laughed because we knew what this educator was in for. With a smile and friendly chuckle, I responded “That sounds about right.”

That night, the parents of the kindergarten class were given a homework assignment. Cydney’s instructor wanted to get to know about her new students, to further understand and know how to cater to them. I made my little girl a part of the process, asking her how she would like to possibly answer some of these inquiries, such as: “What are some her favorite things to do?”

The last question asked if there is anything about my child that she, as a teacher, should be made aware of. Of course, I had to explain about my daughter’s mother passing away from cancer and that, depending on Cydney’s temperament, she may respond one of many ways and you’ll never know what will trigger it.

To begin this important time in the kids’ lives, Cydney’s teacher assigned a kindergarten project in which all of the students bring in pictures of their families while the rest of the class draw pictures of the stimuli standing in front of them. Of course, I added a photograph of my daughter and her mother. However, I knew there could or would be questions from her classmates.

While some may or may not have fathers in their lives, it is very difficult for a five-year-old to comprehend the concept of a child not having their mother. Kids have their mommies and Cydney Milner is always the one child who doesn’t. It’s a tough paradigm, but that is her reality and the only one she has ever known.

This past Friday was Cydney’s day to be the Star Student and present her family to her class. I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure of exactly what would happen that day. There wasn’t time to pull Cyd’s teacher aside, but I knew she was great teacher, so I didn’t (and couldn’t) fret.

When I picked my daughter up from school that afternoon, the teacher informed me that she wanted to speak to me for a moment. On a typical day, I would ask myself, “What did my child say to someone today?” but I knew she wanted to talk about the project handed in this morning.

The teacher let me know that exactly what I felt would happen, did. She wasn’t quite sure how to deal with the situation–Cydney not having a mother and talking about it in from of the class–and wanted to make sure that I was alright with how everything was handled. Telling me that she was a person of faith and wasn’t sure if Cydney and I were as well, she gave me a “temperature check.” When a child asked where my daughter’s mother is, Cyd confidently answered: “She’s not here.” I didn’t coach her on how to answer the question, she just knew what to say.

A follow-up question came along from the class, something along the lines of, “What do you mean?” and the teacher jumped in, saying, “She’s in heaven and is an angel watching over you, Cydney.” I was more than pleased with how everyone handled this.

She’s a veteran teacher and was highly-recommended by everyone. That’s why I wanted my daughter to have this teacher. We conversed for a moment and both agreed that this is difficult for little children to wrap their heads around, even if they know that people die and someone in their families has transitioned. I told the teacher that we have had a few instances like this in Pre-K, in which children that have known Cydney for years would still ask her, “Where is your mommy?” at birthday parties, because they simply forgot.

At five-and-a-half-years-old, my daughter has awareness beyond her age that seems like she’s lived on earth before. The truth is that some of her experiences have forced her cognitive development to be a little accelerated. Yet, in many other ways, she is just a regular kid who does and sees the world like all of the other kids her age. I often let her know that her circumstances are why she’s a star. My star.

Singledadventures: Why I Let My Children Talk Back

September 22nd, 2016 - By Chad Milner
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I almost hate when my five-year-old daughter responds to me with “Actually…”  It’s talk back. Truthfully, I think it’s kind of cute. However, I hear cute smugness and it makes me want to punish her or something.

A few weeks ago, between games of a baseball doubleheader I was coaching, I handed Cydney her lunch, and she inquired what was in the wrapping. My wonderful sunshine had asked me a bevy of questions before 12 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon I’d reached my limit for the day. I told her “A sandwich!”

“Actually, it’s a hero, daddy!” She quipped.

My head almost exploded. I briefly composed myself and told her in a tone that suggested ‘stop trying to correct me, damnit.’ I simply replied, “A hero is a kind of sandwich, Cydney.”

Without turning her head in my direction, one of the grandmother’s of a child on my team explained: “Children don’t mean to correct you. They’re just trying to show you they’re smart.” She wasn’t trying to stick her head in my business. The baseball team spends so much time together that the parents become family. Because of this, I was even more welcoming of the message this woman with more life experience conveyed.

In that moment, everything clicked. I expressed thanks for the insight and said: “I never thought about it like that.” She was right.

Adults often contextualize what children say and do with our knowledgeable paradigm. They are brilliant because they can learn to fluently speak languages by merely hearing them–and much more–based on observation. However, kids lack the practical contact with life that makes us as adults knowledgeable. It is a common misnomer to assume that a child’s response, like my daughter’s, to be undermining. That’s exactly what they would be doing if they were our peers.

Our children think we are greatest and smartest people on the planet. In their eyes, we can’t do any wrong (though this changes when they become teenagers and adults). Talking back and correcting is their attempt to impress us. They’re emulating what they see and are trying to show that they too have something to contribute.

One of the biggest lessons that I am trying to learn is that sometimes I need to let my children win. Because children are sponges, my daughter and nephew have picked up on my affinity of having a witty comeback for everything. It is endearing to hear the two of them go back and forth, and I’m especially proud of my girl for having the ability to shut down my 10-year-old boy. Nonetheless, when either try it in my direction, I tend to go the “your arms too short to box” approach. Deep down, both of my children know that they cannot win in a match of wits with me and I need to let them exercise a little more.

From a cognitive standpoint, my daughter’s affinity for asserting herself is positive. A brisk bon mot response is a sign of intelligence, and people gravitate towards people who think quickly on their toes. It has equipped her with a tool in which she can defend herself. Last Friday, the fourth day of school, Cyndey had a little “girl drama” with a fellow kindergartner in which my child was told the little girl no longer wanted to be her friend.

“You don’t need to be my friend, anymore.  You can just be free and play by yourself,” my mini-me retorted. Truthful and hilarious, I was damn proud.

Days With Daddy: 15 Father Daughter Dates

September 16th, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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There’s isn’t much that could be cuter than seeing a father out with his daughter(s). That particular bond is especially important in the development of a young lady’s mindset and how she views men — from her adolescent to young adult years and for the rest of her life. Make sure that even if the little girl in your life isn’t your biological daughter, you’re setting a great example of what a good man is supposed to be. It’s never too early to start the teaching process and it easiest way to do so, is while out and about, treating your girl to one-on-one dates — just her and her daddy.  Here are 15 ideas of where you guys should go.

Days With Daddy: 15 Father Daughter Dates

The 20th Anniversary Of Tupac’s Death Made Me Feel Like My Parents

September 14th, 2016 - By Chad Milner
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tupac's final words

WENN

Yesterday, September 13, marks 20 years since the death of Tupac Shakur. After a day of penning posts about the slain rapper, I had parenting to do. I felt compelled to listen to Makaveli’s songs as I drove my nephew, his best friend, and my daughter to baseball practice.

Song after song played and the only person that was into it was me. “I Get Around” blared and I was the only one who cared. The next song to play was “California Love” and there was nary a head nod. I sometimes wake up with mysterious aches and pains, but being in a car with children who didn’t care at all that Tupac was playing was the first time I felt old. 

I thought on that for about 30 seconds, but no longer cared and continued to rap all of the words to “Hail Mary,” making a conscious effort to censor my words accordingly.

I came to the realization that I am slowly evolving into my parents.  

I was the same age as my nephew and his best friend when Tupac was shot down. Back then in New York City, my parents would never listen to hip-hop, and that was all I wanted to hear while they would shuttle my sister and I from place to place. The parentals just didn’t get the music and were more than content with listening to what I considered “old stuff.”

As children, we vow that we will never be like the people that made us. We know that we will get older, we think we’ll be the ones to stay in the know with all of the new stuff and our kids will think that we’re cool. However, time happens. Slowly but surely we hit a crossroads, look at what the youth are into, and act like I quote Danny Glover in “Lethal Weapon”: “I’m getting too old for this s***.”

My mother and father were–and still are–fairly hip people. They were the cool parents. They weren’t clueless about whatever my twin sister and I were into. As a teacher and musician, respectively, they found middle ground with me by unwaveringly being themselves, yet constantly reaching out to relate. For every complaint about how what I liked wasn’t music, they made me listen to their oldies and pointed out what songs they liked that were sampled in mine.

Somewhere between nature and nurture, this is me, as well.  I’m a hip-hop head that constantly can put my kids up on whatever is new. I drop my daughter off to kindergarten with arms covered in tattoos, earrings in my ears, Jordans on my feet, and my hat worn backwards. We pull up at soccer and baseball games with 808’s rumbling from the speakers so that other children and parents know the stars have arrived. However, I refuse to do their silly dances and listen to more than one song by “Lil’ Nigglet” at a time…the two-step is always style and Tupac is way better (my parents feel the same way with regards to The Hustle and Earth, Wind and Fire).

My feeling old has absolutely nothing to do with it being 20 years since one of the most influential artists of my youth died. When he died, my mother told a similar story from 15 years prior about college students playing records in remembrance of John Lennon. The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s much more fun being on the other side of the parenting coin. For all of the things I see my children are into, they borrow heavily from the ‘90’s and it all reminds me of a much simpler time.

Celebrity Fathers Terrence Howard And Anthony Anderson Dish On Daddy Duty, ‘Breast Cheese,’ Sharing Responsibility

September 7th, 2016 - By Danielle Elaine
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Image Source: Twitter

Image Source: Twitter

Recently three celebrity fathers sat down with People.com to discuss their parenting experiences. “Empire” star Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson of ABC’s hit “Black-ish,” and Eddie Murphy dished on being dads and sharing parental duties with their significant others.

ABC

ABC

In his interview Anthony shares that his teenage children also share a love for comedy and how he bonds with them over memes and funny videos during car rides.

“We make memes and Snapchats, Instagram posts and all that on the 101. But we were doing that responsibly! I was the cameraman and my son’s hands were on the 10 and 2.”

While the comedian mostly shares laughs with his children, like most families with teens it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the Anderson’s. Anthony lovingly admits his children can be irksome in their teen angst, with genetic characteristics of stubbornness in his daughter, and his son’s inability to return his calls.

“What drives me nuts about my daughter? Her stubbornness. I wonder where she gets that from,” he said with a laugh.

On his son:

“I’ll send him a text or I’ll call and say, ‘Hey man, I sent you a text today, I called you today.’ ‘Oh yeah, Dad, I forgot.’ “‘You forgot to text me back? You forgot to return my phone call? Because I’m pretty sure there’s a girl, or girls, you’ve returned a text or call to,’ ” Anderson explains. “That’s what drives me nuts about my son!”

Terrence Howard and Eddie Murphy are both sharing the joy of a new addition to their families. With children from their previous relationships, each is well-versed in fatherhood.

Eddie Murphy Expecting Ninth Child

WENN

To date, Murphy admits after nine children, he’s never clocked in on diaper duty, as it would be unfair to the child [insert eye roll].  “I don’t change diapers … ’cause I would be horrible at it, and that’s not fair to the child,” is what he told Extra. Eddie goes on to say his three-month-old Izzy, is doing great, and best of all sleeping through the night.  Murphy also boasts that despite having such a large family, there’s no drama.

“Everybody’s really cool with each other and it’s all love all the way around. Everybody gets along — that’s a good thing, it’s a love fest at the house.”

The slightly offensive Mr. Howard refers to his wife’s breast milk as “breast cheese” when he shares that he pulls night duty to let his wife, Mira Pak rest.

“She has the boobage and nurses him during the day. so, I pull night duty, so that she can sleep and I keep him with me and will take some of the pre-pumped ‘breast cheese,’ whatever you call it.”

While it is endearing Howard doesn’t mind doing his share of the 50/50 parental work, the golden elixir of life which flows from a mother’s breast is hardly comparable to cheese. Comment below and tell us some of your favorite, and not so favorite, dad moments!

Pop Mom The Video Series: Dads Talk To Daughters About Sex

August 19th, 2016 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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Pop Mom Dads Daughters Sex Talk

Welcome to the Pop Mom video series with Erickka Sy Savané! This week we’re talking about the infamous sex talk we need to have with our kids, and in this case, daughters. But instead of exploring it through the eyes of moms, we’re talking to dads! Just how do dads talk to daughters about sex?

Click the video to find out, plus we have bonus tips from a respected psychologist!

Also, check out the POP MOM column, For Dads Planning To Have The Sex Talk With Daughters, and let us know your thoughts. Will you be having the sex talk with your girls? Have you had it already?
Thanks again for watching Pop Mom, don’t forget to share the video, and see you next time.
For more on Erickka Sy Savane visit erickkasysavane.com or follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Pop Mom: For Dads Planning To Have The Sex Talk With Daughters

August 15th, 2016 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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The other day I was explaining to my 6-year-old daughter why a friend’s dog had been humping her leg, and the next thing you know it turned into a talk about where babies come from. Though I managed to keep it simple enough to satisfy her curiosity, I know that she’ll be back. As I start contemplating what I will say, it occurs to me that unlike my mom who was a single parent and had to have the sex talk with me, I have a husband. So what part will he play?

When I pose the question to him he says that while he doesn’t see himself having a detailed sex talk with ours daughters who are 6 and 4-years-old, he does plan to talk to them about the dangers of losing their minds to boys as they approach their preteens. “I feel like girls are particularly vulnerable so I want to explain to them that boys can be a distraction,” he says. “I want them to know that they have their whole lives ahead of them. And, of course, I will answer any questions that they ask me.”

Fair enough.

But now I’m curious about how other dads are planning to handle the topic of sex with their daughters, so I reach out to new friend Bashon Mann, a divorced father of 7 and 9-year-old girls. He says that he and his ex-wife have been talking a lot about this subject. “More than a sex talk, we want them to know that they have a safe house where they can ask us anything and get a response that they can value,” Bashon explains, adding that his mom recently bought his 9-year-old daughter an “American Girl” book that addresses questions about changes to the body and how babies are conceived.

It’s a book that he wishes she’d given him when he was growing up because what he remembers most is his mom putting the fear of God in him to the point that he was afraid to even kiss a girl for fear that she might get pregnant. “It’s a tactic that doesn’t work,” Bashon warns, “because once you go to college and discover what sex is really like, you lack knowledge and discipline, then you have to learn it. I’m not saying I want my girls to have sex before college,” he clarifies, “but they need to be aware of what’s going on.”

It’s an interesting point because parents put so much focus on making sure girls get out of high school without getting pregnant, catching a disease or being promiscuous, but what about college?

I get in touch with my friend Lyte Epps because he has a 19-year-old daughter who just started college. How did he prepare her?

“I started talking to her around 12-years-old, maybe a little earlier,” he recalls. “But most of it was me saying things like, ‘I better not catch you with no boys!’ just beating it into her head.”

Though it didn’t turn out bad, he says he didn’t have to worry about his daughter messing around with boys until she was 17 and 18-years-old, while his friends had to deal with it at 13 and 14-years-old, he still plans to do something different with his 9-year-old daughter.

“More than any sex talk, I want to explain to her why it’s important that she respect her body,” Lyte says. “I want her to know that a man don’t have to love you to lay down with you and leave, but you’ve got a womb to protect. You’re the one bringing a child into this world, and there are diseases.”

It’s great to see dads being proactive, but to make sure that as many stones are being turned as possible, I reach out to clinical psychologist, Dr. Kristin Carothers of the Child Mind Institute to get some professional advice.

She says that appropriate talks about sex and sexuality should begin as early as 8 or 9-years-old. “If fathers are squeamish talking about sex with their little girls, a good place to start would be basic conversations about their friendships with boys and girls. Ask if any of their friends are ‘dating’ and what that means to them. They could also check out YouTube videos that provide accurate sex education information.”

She also stresses the importance of letting them know that:

1. They can ask questions and voice their concerns.

2. Physical attraction is natural, however it’s best to establish a friendship before intimacy.

3. They can say no to sex and if someone touches them without their consent they should contact you, the police or an adult immediately.

4. If they say yes to sex use protection, and have it available or let them know how to get it.

5. Know your limits when it comes to sexual activities and only do what you feel comfortable doing. Let the girl know there are different types of sex and the risks associated with each (vaginal sex: pregnancy, STDs, anal sex: tearing, STDs, and oral sex: STDs)

Okay, that’s a lot of stones turned. And what about you dads? Do you plan to have the sex talk with your girls?

Erickka Sy Savané is a writer, mom and wife. Before writing she was a model, actress, and MTV VJ. She currently writes the Pop Mom column and hosts the POP MOM video show right here on Madamenoire. To see more of her work, visit ErickkaSySavane.com

News Flash: Men Wrestle With Self-Esteem Issues Too

August 4th, 2016 - By Chuck Creekmur
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The standard of beauty in America has long plagued the Black woman. From back in the day, rail thin was in and sisters with curves were often-times left out into the cold. Fast forward to the present day, you have Kim Kardashian getting praised for her assets and more and more Black women going through the rigors of plastic surgery to get a bigger booty. If one more person says Serena Williams is mannish, I am going to scream.

But, I got news for you. some of us men go through similar things.

I subscribe to two magazines – Esquire and GQ. As time has gone on, I have evolved as a man and want my style to reflect that. The only issue is, I cannot find anybody in these magazines that look like me. The models are all super thin, extra fit and exclusively wear “slim fit” clothing of all sorts. These dudes are perfect in every European way – even the ones with melanin.

I have managed to maintain my weight, driven by an aspirational need to stay in line with what is seen as attractive and my own dreaded self-loathing.

Most men won’t admit it, but a lot of us simply hate ourselves.

One of my homegirls called me out on that after telling me that she had finally discovered self love. For men, it comes out in different ways, I believe. For example, some dudes will totally stop caring that their belly could give Santa a run for diabetes. Hello, dad bod. Others stop buying new clothing when they get married and then can be seen wearing 2000’s Karl Kani or something. They chalk it up to getting older, being too busy or simply being wore down to the very last compound.

To keep it 100, I have always been hyper sensitive about my size and physique and it has dominated my approach to women, socializing, the beach, and just about every facet of life. At one point in my life, I couldn’t even take a compliment until somebody told me to just say, “thank you,” and shut up after that.

Only recently have I started to get better. But think about it…

From when we are kids, super heroes with bulging muscles and spandex have come to represent higher manhood. Then, it turns real through Hollywood with dudes like Arnold and Stallone. Then, rappers like LL Cool J. Sure, some dudes rejected these standards like Biggie Smalls, but the standards remain. Our esteem is constantly under siege. I know it is seen as a wholly negative, but I do my best to accept the challenge. I push my fitness as much as I can, eating right and staying dope as much as I can. Sadly, I want to look as good as I can when I transition after life on this Earth.

It is a delicate juggling act of self esteem and health.

Listen. Men aren’t going to admit to this. We care even when it seems we don’t. Some dudes from the younger generation may, as they tend to be thinner and oftentimes less inclined to adhere to those stereotypical standards of masculinity. I idolized Batman, Superman and The Hulk before Malcolm, Martin and Mandela. I think some of this mental superhuman strength is necessary to be real. A dude and I had a candid conversation and he said, “Who is going to defend the women when America breaks out in war?” He then lightly punched me in the shoulder as if to say, “Yeah…sturdy people like me and you.” I know that is a whole ‘nother conversation, but I’m just saying…

We have to stop the bleeding and defy the presumed contradictions. I definitely want my daughter to love herself in a way that I did not, but I also want her to be health conscious in a way that escaped me as a youngster. I want to be that super hero to her, but also a flawed human, too. She’s got to learn that what the Creator gave her is enough and that’s something that I have to wrestle with as women whistle at Idris Elba. I have never wished I was Idris. I wished I was his best buddy, but not him.

I’m enough too.

Yeah – sniff, sniff – I’m enough too.

Here Are 5 Ways You Can Feel Good, Dad!

1. Work out.

I know I am never going to have the body of my favorite superhero, The Incredible Hulk. But, like I said, this is aspirational. This means, I continue an endless quest towards being in shape. This means, I willingly workout knowing I’ll never slip into the overweight Chuck that used to fill me with self-loathing. Work out, man!

2. Pose In The Mirror

I know this sounds a bit silly, but do it. There are studies that say posing in a powerful position actually makes your stronger and boosts confidence. When I was a kid, I walked with a slump. They always told me I would been a hunchback by the time I got older. Clearly, I am not the Hunchback of New York now, but I feel it was reflective of my state of mind then.

3. Accept The Compliment

You might think you are wack, but you don’t need to tell everybody! I never thought I was wack, but for whatever reason, I was unable to accept compliments. I just didn’t believe that the person was telling the truth. Now, I give them. I know it also makes others feel better, particularly if it is from a genuine place.

4. Dress For Success

Women know this – knock ‘em dead! Men tend to hold on to the same suit for year and years, forgetting that men’s styles do change even if we don’t. So, force change upon yourself and do different things that illicit a reaction from people. Sure, it’s outside stimuli but it builds you up, just as other influences can tear you down.

5. Accept Who You Are

I have my dad’s body now. Now, I love my dad, but there are parts of him I have been trying to avoid. However, as I get older, embrace the “man weight” – that inevitable scoundrel that creeps up on many of us. People that truly know me, know that I’m very uncomfortable in my own skin, but even that is a part of myself that I embrace. Hell, I am all about the work – in career and in life. I enjoy it but own the notion that it is a process. However, being honest, I don’t want my kid to go through the inner turmoil so hopefully she will pick up the newer me, not the old me. It has been fairly recently that I have truly learned how to smile with genuine happiness behind it. Life ain’t perfect or fair and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be.

Movie Review: Omar Epps and Malik Yoba Produce ‘Daddy Don’t Go’

June 17th, 2016 - By Chad Milner
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Daddy Don't Go

Daddy Don’t Go

One out of every three children in the United States grow up without fathers present in their lives.  Not Black, Latino, “urban,” or any other word carefully used to describe people of color…all children. It always seems to be that the window between Memorial Day and Father’s Day is when these “reports” are released says Black fathers are the fathers most likely to not be in their children’s lives. But statistically speaking, Black fathers are more present in their children’s lives than any ethnicity in America. The movie Daddy Don’t Go sheds light from a different perspective.

Executive produced by actors Omar Epps and Malik Yoba, Daddy Don’t Go follows four fathers–Nelson, Omar, Roy, and Alex–over the course of the course of two years.  They intimately speak and share their lives experiences raising their children in a society that often misjudges them.

Nelson is a 26-year-old from the South Bronx and member of the infamous gang, the Latin Kings.  He begins by recalling the first time he met his partner and how they fell in love.  Having two children from a previous relationship, he says to the camera as if talking to his girl, “I wanna be with you, so I wanna help.”  Refusing to go back to his old life and the gang that he was born into and raised around, Nelson moves his family to Florida since it’s so hard to find employment in New York City.

With one mother being abusive and the other incarcerated, Omar has sole custody of his three children. Omar feels as if being a father is the only thing that he does well; as a child he was diagnosed with a learning disability. His children have learning disabilities as well, and because of the severity of their circumstances, Omar must have all of his children to school on time or ACS will make a phone call and there is the possibility of them being taken away.

Roy is a formerly incarcerated felon, but most importantly he’s the dad to a son, Kaiden.  He was handed a life sentence at 16 and served six years for possession of drugs with the intent to distribute.  He too has sole custody of his son because the mother lives a young and reckless life.  At 28-years-old, Roy is having a difficult time putting his past behind him.  He has had countless job opportunities pass on him the day before he would start work because of his criminal record.  He lives at home with his parents and tends to internalize the issues that he had growing up with his father as opposed to addressing them, because ultimately it affects his relationship with his son.  Roy is a white male living in Long Island.

Alex admits that he is no stranger to the court system. Having acquired full-custody of his son, Alex, Jr. and a robbery case, Alex Sr. is striving to become a better man.  His goal is to attain a certification in automotive mechanics so that he and his son can move out of their homeless shelter in Harlem.

Each one of these men has their own version of what they consider happily ever after. In spite of a society that looks down on them for different reasons, all four of these men want to do what is best for their children with themselves being secondary.  

Equally gritty, honest, heartwarming, and thought-provoking, Daddy Don’t Go offers a microcosm to the experience of fatherhood that almost all patriarchs can relate to.  While the circumstances may differ, the goal is the same–protect and provide to the best of one’s knowledge by any and all means necessary.  Starting Father’s Day, June 19, you can watch Daddy Don’t Go Vimeo for $6.99.