All Articles Tagged "fatherhood"

Why It’s Time To Shift The Narrative Of Single Black Fathers

August 25th, 2015 - By Deja Jones
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Child support cases and custody battles in the United States, at one point, were very straightforward. Mothers were given custody of the child or children because they were deemed better suited to provide stability. The fathers were ordered to pay child support and provided with visitation. But more recently, the topic of child support, custody and family has become more and more complex. While many Black men continue to combat and disprove the myth that they are all abandoning their children, the narrative remains the same. On top of that, many have stepped up to reclaim and reimagine what it means to be a Black father in this country. But for some, despite such efforts, the courts are unyielding when it comes to primary custody and what’s in the best interest of the child.

A friend of mine is in the midst of a court battle to be the custodial parent of his child. He doesn’t have a good relationship with his child’s mother, which has made co-parenting arrangements extremely difficult for him. But in terms of being a great caregiver, he’s stepped up and assumed that responsibility. As a single working father, he’s provided for his child. He’s covered medical expenses, childcare services, food, and clothing. He has a beautiful relationship with his daughter, and he wants to have her with him as primary guardian. But my friend is struggling with a biased court system that believes his child should be with the mother because she has been her from the very beginning. He feels this is unfair and has pleaded his case, stating that the child’s mother has proven herself to be unfit on more than one occasion. However, his pleas have gone unheard. This story and fight are more common than you think.

In 2014, a Texas man was sentenced to six months in prison for overpaying in child support after trying to cover payments he missed due to a clerical error in the automated withdrawals for support through his job. Come to find out, the automatic withdrawals were only happening sporadically, which Clifford Hall wasn’t aware of. When he received a notice of past-due support, he paid what he owed, and provided an additional $1,000 to ensure that he would stay in the clear. But it wasn’t enough. This story sparked outrage when Hall was sentenced, despite catching up on all his payments before his court date. Hall was eventually released in July of last year on a suspended sentence and placed on probation. This very bizarre situation brings to light that even when a single Black father is doing right by his child, there are still stereotypes in place that tell a narrative of his shortcomings, and laws in place that make him out to be the villain.

According to a report done by the CDC, Black fathers are 82 percent more likely to play with their children on a daily basis. They are 67 percent more likely to talk to their children about their day on a daily basis, and they are also 40 percent more likely to provide homework help to their children on a daily basis. So with these statistics that should be celebrated, and men like Hall and my friend, why then is the prevailing belief and only stories being shared that Black men are absent in their child’s life? Who is writing their narratives and shedding light on their presence in the Black community as fathers and role models?

Why People Without Children Shouldn’t Give Parenting Advice

August 24th, 2015 - By Chad Milner
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I am a pretty laid back person and I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to criticism.  Hell, even moments where I am “in my feelings” only last a few minutes; it takes a lot to get me angry. With all of that said, there is one thing that annoys me almost more than anything else on the planet: people without children giving me parenting advice.

Yes, more than the sound of nails on a chalkboard, sitting in heavy traffic because people are rubbernecking at a car accident, and more than when people say “fustrate” and “conversate.”

There’s just something about people without children giving me parenting advice that drive me up the wall.  When someone who hasn’t procreated responds to “You should (insert counsel here),” it takes almost every fiber of my being to respond with a phrase that rhymes with “What the truck cup.”

I am aware that, for the most part, people mean well and aren’t passing judgment.  However, I feel as if this is one of the very few arenas in which everyone feels as if they are experts and they have no experience.  There is no manual on how to raise a child, everyone comes from a parent, and were raised by someone.  How one was raised and how one actually raises their children are very different.

For starters, there is something in a person that changes when they become a parent. 

One could love and have played a major role in being a parent figure in a child’s life; but it’s just different.  You see the world differently.  Self becomes secondary not because one decides to; it’s instinct.  There are many things my parents said or did that I didn’t understand-even as an adult-but once I had my daughter made sense.  If-or when-I have a second child, I would do things very differently because no matter how many books one reads, siblings they have, or what have you, is an on-the-job kind of thing.

Many times non-parents respond to things by saying “My friend who has kids,” or some variance of that statement.  Nope, try again.

What your friends or whatever would do is very different from what you would do.  Their collective experiences, applicable knowledge, and paradigm is different.  Everything a non-parent says is speculative.  I can think of so many things I have said before my daughter that I would never do that I do now.  “Why are you paying so much money for tuition for a four year old that you can barely afford?”  Because she’s in a very good school and I feel it’s a worthy investment in my kid.  “But my friend doesn’t.”  Maybe this is something that means a little bit more to me than them.  Maybe because I grew up in a family full of teachers so that shaped the way I see schools.  Maybe said upbringing has determined how I looked at the teachers in that school and I think they can being the best out of my child who has a unique temperament.

I think that in my circumstance because I am a single father I get it a lot. 

I think part of the stigma about how fathers do things a little differently than mothers do comes into play.  I do many things in a manner that’s a little unconventional because the circumstances in which I became a single parent are unusual and I swear on everything I love I think my daughter has been here before.  Yes, I don’t try to be a mother to my daughter because I can’t.  However, I am still nurturing to her.  Most people see mothers as just being nurturers and fathers as kind of bumbling fools who protect and just do a lot of the fun stuff.  It is almost astounding how many of my women friends don’t believe that I am quite a disciplinarian with my daughter.

I think I am a damn good father; I can’t think of too many people who would say otherwise.  But I don’t think that I’m perfect, either.  I am pretty sure I mess up from time to time and there are things that I do as a parent that will cause some kind of complex within my daughter.  Every parent does this.

Nonetheless, more than likely I–or most parents–know they have that one or two thing that is a breaking point. Mine is music.  I was raised by a musician and that will always be my first love and passion.  I have learned how to ignore Disney and Nick Jr. shows that play over and over again.  But I can’t STAND stuff like Kidz Bop.  I think it’s corny and most of that stuff just makes my insides cringe.  For the most part, I have found some semblance of balance in this.  I am very careful of what Cydney listens to and what she repeats (In fact, nine out of 10 times, she knows what she should and shouldn’t repeat on her own).

I don’t listen to anything referring to drugs or sexual around her.  But I love hip hop and I love that my kid does too.  With all of that said, since I am with my child with not much relief, there are but so many times I can hear her music over and over in the car that I am driving us somewhere before I lose it.  So guess what?  I’m gonna turn on the radio and Cydney is gonna listen to the latest Fetty Wap song three or four times for the sake of my sanity.  If she asks me what does something mean I will answer it and if it is particularly funny I will laugh to myself or out loud if I deem appropriate to do so.

If I post something on social media or tell a story to my non-parent friends and they say: “You shouldn’t do that,” I want them all to know I am thinking: “Shut up.  You’ve never had a kid you can’t drop off.”

I would be a lot more receptive to the opinions of people without children if they started off their statements with: “I think.”  I’m a stickler for language, so changing one’s vocabulary does change the context.  “I think” insinuates that your opinion is speculative and “You should” is authoritative.  It makes a world of a difference.

…I just needed to vent.

Turn Off Worldstar: 5 Things You Need To Do For Your Kids, But May Not Want To

August 19th, 2015 - By Chuck Creekmur
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dating a single dad

Parents and kids go hand in hand. They are the sponge and we are the water. How you live and what you do for your kids, and yourself, ends up making them who they are.

But you knew that, right? 

Then, why the heck do you keep doing the things you do?!

We adults are screwed, cursed by the habits of our own parents, but this does not have to continue with our kids. Here are five things you need to do for your kids, even though you probably don’t want to. And, by all means, add to the list. We need all the help we can get.

Turn Off The Radio, Worldstar and All That Garbage

I know its cute seeing kids shake their groove thang like an adult, but let’s be clear: over sexualization is real and it’s not to cute when they reach the teen years. I took my daughter to a basketball game and on the way out, some kid kept doing pelvic thrusts. I was annoyed, but I suppose he listened to a lot of “pelvic thrust music” thanks to his parents. Or maybe they just watch Worldstar together…while they ate KFC. Who knows!? Parents don’t realize they give their kids so much “junk” until its too late. “No…you cannot be a trap queen when you grown up.” I never want to utter those words.

Take The Junk Food And Replace It With Veggies…

Speaking of junk, I have to admit that I’ve eaten a lot of candy in my day. Oh, how I love sugary confections. I am sad/happy to say that my daughter will only have a limited exposure to the joy of cavity creators. Almost since she was able to walk, the Halloween candy mysteriously disappears after a couple of days. However, Black people and diabetes is a serious problem. People and these yucky teeth are tragic when they get a certain age. Well, I am proud to say that my daughter now (mostly) rejects sweets out of fear that it will cause ill healthy later in life. And it can.
Make ‘Em Tough

Your average kid has not been in a fight yet. Why? They now ban kids from fighting in school, even in the case of bullying. Defending yourself can get you suspended in your typical American school. Insane! Ever notice how many suburban Black folk have their kids in karate? I know an 11-year-old with a black belt! They want to make their kids tougher than they would normally be through environmental rearing. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do! I was never some deranged warrior, but I had my little scraps as a young’un. Those were invaluable lessons for survival and accomplishment. Now, you may have to play fight with your own kid just to give them some “adversity.” The world is the ultimate bully and it never gets suspended from your life.

Give Them Social Media

Their friends have it. They will find a way to have it. Social media and all of the ills that come with it are at your child’s disposal. Let them have it. Monitor it. Spy if you have to. It will give you the bird’s eye view on what is actually going on in these dank digital streets. What you will need to do is set your permissions so the kid cannot download anything without your approval. This varies depending on the platform and device. At the end of the day, this allows you to be social with your own child and then the conversation commences.

Get Up, Get Out!

This one is personal. Since a lot of my life is spent sitting behind a computer screen, my daughter has picked up on this seemingly sloth behavior. I realized that I was doing this around her, even though the other parts of my life were extremely active. I don’t want to do it, but I end up working harder when she’s around JUST so I don’t look lazy around her. My brother Jay knew this a long time ago and it shows in his daughter’s high achievement levels. I realize I just have to suck it up and so do you. Step away from the computer and get outside. Create the good health habit now and they will follow your child through their life until they find a cure for everything.

Father Beats Up Girl Gang Attacking His Daughter

July 1st, 2015 - By Rich
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Here’s the scenario.

Girl gets beat up by a gang of girls.
Father jumps in, shields daughter.
Girls begin to attack dad.
Dad proceeds to fight girls.
Onlookers are outraged.

I am not sure where this video originated or what city it all went down, but this is a nightmare I have in my head. I, the consummate over thinker, has envisioned what I would do in the event that my child was attacked. In some instances, I am pondering it being a group of knife-and-gun teen kids and sometimes, its a pack like in the video. I’ve never quite thought bout fighting girls, but I’ve always been a staunch advocate for defending my daughter. So, take a look at the video, which is quite shocking.

What would you do?

I would probably have to do just as the man did in the video, with a bit less force. Then again…you never know. Sadly, I have seen numerous fights of this sort on social media and girls have come a long way when it comes to gang fighting. It comes as no shocker than this is a regular thing n this WorldStar era of acceptance of just about everything. I have no issue with “a fair one,” but they don’t exist anymore.

My dad, a pretty big man, was always a proponent of “the equalizer.” Never saw him use his “equalizer,” but it was there just in case. As far as I can see, this father was defending himself and his child against a pack of untrained heathens, that happened to be female, that decided they wanted to fight a grown ass man. When you go that route, you get grown ass man results. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

So, I don’t consider this a matter of gender.

I believe that any father worth his weight in salt is going to do whatever he needs to do to defend his child, especially if they become the subject of the attack. Frankly, they should be pleasantly pleased this man didn’t lose his cool and attempt to seriously injure somebody. People tend to “black out” when consumed with the rage that only comes from protecting their young. I am pretty sure that in the future these packs of kids are going to be met with more force than mere blows.

In this NSFW video, males attack a student , apparently for getting good grades.

Of course – all fathers become The Punisher when their baby girl is in danger. But, what can you do?

1) Talk to your kid.

These things don’t just happen. There’s almost aways a build up of some sorts. I’ve said this before, but I talk to my daughter a lot. I ask open-ended question so the responses are not just “Yes” or “No” and we have a conversation.

2) Observe

Kids don’t tell their parents everything. This we know. You have to be cognizant and observant, paying particular attention to any changes you may see in your offspring.

3) Stay Cool

When my daughter was younger, a boy was acting a fool with her and we had to handle it. I was furious and was ready to wreck shop. However, the parent – knowing their child well – were very agreeable to how to move forward. All the parents found an amicable way to proceed without damaging the kids.

4) Teach Conflict Resolution

Parents can’t be there all the time. The kid should know how to diffuse situations, especially when presented by pack-loving bullies. Teach them that it is not cowardly, but actually brave, to keep a situation from escalating.

5) Get Them Lessons

I know a lot of kids that are into martial arts and other forms of self-defense. My kid has some boxing skills and she hits hard. It isn’t just meant to help a child engage in warfare, but it allows them the ability to move with confidence among others. Most bullies don’t want do deal with a kid that will present a “problem.” They certainly don’t want to deal with a kid that fights back and also has a father acts as an “equalizer.”

One last thing:

There is nothing wrong with defending and protecting your family.

The UCLA Brawl: Did Diddy Go Too Far Defending Son Justin?

June 24th, 2015 - By Rich
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You’ve felt that feeling. And if you haven’t, you probably don’t want to. It’s the feeling when someone says something to your kid that crosses the line. Maybe they yelled at them. Or maybe they turned around on a plane and told them to stop kicking the chair without saying anything to you first. As the parent, you’re that child’s first line of defense.

So while everyone would probably agree that Diddy needs to get his temper in check, they can still understand his motivation for getting into a physical altercation with the strength and conditioning coach at UCLA. The music mogul was arrested Monday on a charge of three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of making terrorist threats, and one count of battery after an altercation with Sal Alosi, his son’s football coach. Allegedly, Diddy swung a kettle bell after attacking Alosi in his office. Diddy was released Monday night after posting $50,000 bail.

So what caused this rumble in the UCLA jungle? Well, as most already know, Diddy’s son Justin Combs is a defensive end on the football team. Coach Alosi was reportedly yelling at Justin during practice with Diddy watched on the sidelines. (Apparently, Diddy is a frequent spectator at games and practices) After practice, Diddy and Justin went to the Coach’s office to confront him. This is where the story gets muffled. Some “sources” say that Diddy went in while Alosi was on the phone, and was upset that Alosi asked him to wait so he started cursing at him. Then, Diddy allegedly attacked him. Personnel escorted him out of the office and into the weight room where he picked up the kettle bell and swung it at interns. Honestly, this sounds like lunatic Diddy. That’s not to say that it couldn’t be true, or that he didn’t overreact, but it would seem more likely that things escalated after a situation that, frankly, was justified.

Let’s take Diddy’s temper out of the equation because swinging a kettle bell at someone could kill them. If this is true, yes, Mr. Combs went too far. But he did wait until after practice to speak to the Coach, and if he felt the Coach had been too hard on his son, then isn’t confronting him what he was supposed to do as a parent. So if things turned physical with the Coach afterwards, there’s probably a chance that both of them played a role. This coach was actually suspended when he worked for the NY Jets for trying to trip a player on the opposite team.  And according to a rep for Combs Enterprises Nathalie Moar, the accounts of the events that took place are “wholly inaccurate.” Moar says, “any actions taken by Mr. Combs were solely defensive in nature to protect himself and his son.” So there’s definitely two different sides to this story. But it still started out with him defending his son.

Which goes back to the initial point. How far will you go to defend your kids? College football coaches are known to be rough, but is it possible that he was being extra hard on Justin? We don’t know what the Coach yelled at him on that field or if there was anything else going on between them. And until we do, we can’t say for sure that he didn’t have a right to confront the Coach. Whatever happened afterwards, though, well that’s the part where Diddy should probably have exercised more control. But in that moment, when that idiot turns around in their plane chair, with an attitude and yells “Stop kicking my damn chair” to your kid’s face, you may just pick up your foot and give the back of their chair the biggest kick you can because your self control just went out the window.

Hip-Hop Fathers Break Cycles Of Pain

June 21st, 2015 - By Rich
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When I was coming up in the roaring 90’s, it seemed like at least one song per album was devoted to bashing the deadbeat dad. Others took a more positive route like Tupac and praised the sturdy, but loving mother. Hip-Hop was predicated on being the truth, but nobody seemed to have a good enough dad to write about. Those days are dying…slowly.

I think Hip-Hop dads are changing the profile of a good dad. Lets start with the OG’s like Will Smith, Rev. Run, T.I. who all have very visible families that appear to be burgeoning dynasties like the Wayans Family are presently. We’ve recently seen other older gods of rap like Busta Rhymes, Young Jeezy and Baby from Cash Money Records graduating their offspring from traditional education institutions. Most of them have fought out of impoverished conditions to feed their families, provide and nurture their seeds.

Then, we have the young guns, who TMZ and other tabloid media outlets have a field day with, but they still persevere as fathers. Make not one mistake, many of these guys live lives wrought with controversy. Take Rich Homie Quan for example. His name has recently been sullied after a pair of songs he wrote referenced raping women in them. The songs were unacceptable and inexcusable and he has since apologized for both instances. He said, “I was young and just rapping. At the time, I had no guidance in my life. I blame it on that. So I apologize once more to my fans.” When I talked to him, earlier this year, he made it clear he was a dedicated father and explained the challenges with being in his sons life and that he was not perfect, but aware of his shortcomings.

Similarly, Chris Brown’s life is a true cluster of missteps in his personal life…and yet he still manages to adorn his daughter with love and lavish gifts. And not all young bucks have drama-filled lives. Take Fetty Wap, the NJ singer/rapper, as an example. He and his child’s mother are in perfect accord. However, he wrestles with his life as a rapper and he told VIBE, “I used to see them every day. Now, my biggest fear is that my daughter is going to be crying because she doesn’t know who I am. Or she’s going to be crying because she’s happy to see me. She’s still young so she doesn’t really know what’s up right now. As a man though, that s**t kind of hurts me. That’s my baby girl, my only daughter. What man don’t want their daughter to know who they is?”

Chris Brown InstagramAgain, he’s full of good intentions and awareness and wants to do better and that’s important.

I often envy guys like Nas and Common, both sons of musicians because  both of their fathers were able to witness their success in Hip-Hop and they were even able to do cool things with their dads. Nas and his father were in Gap ads and Common’s dad played on several of his popular albums. At the day’s end, I was extremely proud that they had dads that reminded me of my own father in many ways. My dad was far from Hip-Hop, but he would sport suede Puma kicks and Adidas suits back in the day as a sign of solidarity with his b-boy sons. That’s the kind of father I have become. I’m that father, like these others, that seeks to break cycles and create new ones.

When we talk Hip-Hop Fathers, people tend to think about rappers and cultural affiliates, but that’s not it. This is a movement that can be seen on every front of life. If you look on Facebook, Instagram or other social media, you will find doting dads that are sharing information, encouraging other fathers, and showing how much they love their kids. These are people like my brother, a teacher with a teen daughter and a penchant for making beats. My boy Jerry, an editor at WatchLoud, in an overlord in the underground rap scene but is also a diligent father or take Datwon – who runs  VIBE.com – who has been one of the coolest, dedicated fathers I’ve ever known for the longest.

We are doctors, dentists, lawyers, security guards, engineers, bankers, poets, web site owners, entrepreneurs and more. We are Hip-Hop. The days of old may not be completely dead, but we are doing our best to kill them, despite a myriad of hurdles placed in our way. Our lives may not be perfect, but as fathers, we can and will do this the right way – by any means necessary!

J. Ivy: How Letters To Dad Can Heal Us All

June 19th, 2015 - By Rich
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J. Ivy is a Grammy-award winning poet, author and the Chicago native is even down with Kanye West. However, he has a new mission in life with this recently-released book, “Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of Pain.” As we celebrate, or abhor, our fathers, lets take time to dive past the surface of cheesy card, underwear and a measly Sunday. J. Ivy speaks his truth about Black fathers, the history of self-hate and how the healing commences with simple letters to dad.

MommyNoire: Tell us about your book and the movement that goes with it.

J. Ivy: My latest book is called “Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of Pain,” which started out as a poem that I wrote called “Dear Father.” The poem, this letter, was written in attempt to free myself of a lot of pain I experienced from my father not being in my life for over 10 years. We had a chance to reconnect but a year and a half later he passed away. I was hurting bad, fell into a deep depression, and was unable to find the balance needed to move forward, but through the Power of Forgiveness and the gift of poetry I was able to relieve my spirit of that hurt and imbalance. As hard as it was to get it out, once I reached that point I could feel the weight of those emotions lift off of me. I felt free.

Being a performance poet I’ve traveled all over performing “Dear Father” and it was evident that a lot of people were going through this familiar feeling. Wanting to help people find the same healing I was able to find, I decided to tell the story of how I came to write “Dear Father” and the happiness I was able to discover after doing so. Wanting to take it a step further I wanted to extend the idea of everyone participating in this exercise of forgiveness, so we started a community service component called DearFatherLetters.com. The theme is, “One Million Letters Written, One Million Hearts Healed.” The hope is that a million folks, no matter if the relationship with their father is good, bad, or ugly, no matter your gender, race, or sex will write letters to their fathers and join this dialogue and healing.

My father died when I was a teen and I’ve never written a letter. Why do you advocate for it?

First off, I do offer my condolences. I advocate for folks writing letters because I had the personal experience of seeing how healing it is to release those feelings. One of the themed quotes for the book is, “If you don’t deal with your emotions, one day your emotions will deal with you.” Often times we bury these emotions, we don’t deal with them, we forget they exist, and because of that we’re unaware of how these feelings effect us and how we treat others. I had no idea how much pain was buried in my sub-conscious until my poetry pulled it out and when I was able to look at and recognize it I was able to deal with it and become better as a person because of it. That’s why I push for people to write these letters. Because I’ve personally seen the transformation it’s brought my own life and family.

In “Dear Father,” you stress breaking the cycle of pain. How does this happen when people may not be self aware in this manner.

Again, I think we become aware my putting these feelings on the page. Over the years my poetry became mirrors of who I was. It introduced me to me. It allowed me to get to know myself, to find myself, to better myself. When you’re able to take a good look at who you are that’s when you’re able to work on you. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broke and a lot of our spirits have been broken by the disconnect fathers are having with their children. It’s time we take that look in the mirror, have the courage to accept what has happened, and push through the pain.

What is the state of Black Fatherhood and fatherhood in general here in America?

Black Fatherhood and fatherhood in general is in a rare space. Last I checked their 72% of Black households are fatherless and 43% of American households are fatherless. This is an issue that expands much further than the Black community. This is an American problem. It is a problem that has weakened the foundation of who we are, our families, our homes, and our communities. We look around, we see the violence that’s taken place, we see the dropout rate increasing, we see a lot of mental instability and I truly believe that directly stems from the lost of love that so many are experiencing. The imbalance that we see and feel is a plague that is fed by this abandonment, this negative cycle, which I pray and hope can be turned around before the times get worst than they already are. We have to get back to love. We have to!

Are Black fathers deadbeats like we say and feel or are we victims of American’s worst smear campaign?

We have certainly been dealt a bad hand when it comes to our history in this country. This format of destruction was put in place a long time ago. Being human, being creatures of habit, we have consistently repeated a culture that was forced on us. We succumb to the self-hate that was taught to us, beat in is, placed on us with fear tactics, murder and rape, but at some point be have to take responsibility for what belongs to us and our children belong to us. There’s no excuse for not being there, for not taking care of something you created.

The greatest gift given to us is life and to be able to produce another one. We have to get pass our pain, any selfishness, and take part in those gifts. There’s no excuse for not being there, for not being involved, especially when most of the fathers that are present didn’t have a father of their own. They no what that pain feels like, what that abandonment feels like, so it’s important and it’s time that we learn how to forgive those who have hurt us, forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made, and make a firm and courageous decision to finally break the cycle. We’ll all be better for it. Love! And Happy Fathers Day to the Fathers, Grandfathers, Great Grandfathers, Uncles, Mentors, Big Brothers who are there not falling victim to any excuses that many have hold on others. My wish and prayer is that your example becomes the norm for most. Let’s reconnect. Let’s get our village back!

 

What If Kids Could Shame Parents? RIP Isabel Laxamana

June 5th, 2015 - By Rich
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Isabel Laxamana, 13, is dead.

Early reports suggest strongly that the Tacoma, Washington, girl died after she willingly took her life by leaping off a highway overpass late last week. Her body hit a car below and she died the next day. The suicide was an apparent response to a public shaming video by her father, where he cut off her long tresses as a form of punishment.

As I suggested before, there are times where public shaming apparently works, but I loathe it with every fiber of my being, particularly in this era of unchecked sharing, social media and creepy voyeurism. Keep it real, there has always been some sort of public shaming. When your mother or father “papped” you in the supermarket? When you were showing off and had to get checked in front of your friends? These were early forms of what is now called public shaming, but it was not amplified in this digital era. They were also unplanned and simply instant discipline.

Honestly, most of these parents should be ashamed of themselves. Shaming isn’t discipline. Fact is, when a parent publicly shames their kid its almost like a humblebrag where they are trying to tell people, “Hey, everybody look at me…I’m a good parent. Watch me punish this kid in front of you all.” I definitely felt that in the last case, where the boy was failing every grade and smoking weed. The correlation between parents that shame through social media and their kids behavior has to be linked directly to the way kids were raised. I know kids have free will, but their failures are often our failures.

Father Wayman Gresham feels a lot like I feel. He recently posted a video on Facebook stating, “It’s time for me to discipline my kid the tough way! Why? I don’t play that!” But, then the video took another turn. He hugged his boy and started to spit straight facts.

“There’s no way in the world I would ever embarrass my son like that,” he says on the video. “Good parenting starts before he even gets to the point of being out of control. Good parenting is letting your child know that you love them regardless of what they are and who they are and showing them the way by example.” (If you look at his son Isaiah’s face, he’s elated to know he won’t have to endure public shaming.)

Isabel Laxamana’s dad is probably dead inside if he was any sort of father to begin with. This hurts. I’m sure he had the best of intentions, even though can’t see how he thought hacking off his daughters hair was a good idea.

What if the roles were reverse?

What if kids took their parents shortcomings and put them on social media for all to see? What if kids were able to cut their parents hair off and send them into the workplace or church with a “George Jefferson” haircut? What if they were able to put these embarrassing, mostly mean moments in front of their friends and family? What if children got a kick out of it? It is problematic that more parents don’t see this is an abuse of power or bullying that can go horribly wrong. It is not out of love and feels pathetically masochistic and self-serving. Isabel was going through a lot when she posted the following last year:

“I feel hated most of the time im in school i feel looked down on and i get judged a lot…. But what keeps me going is people like kian who have gone through the same thing as me… In a school with so many people its weird to say “i feel alone” but the truth is that you really do feel alone. So thanks for everything kian….”

Isabel Laxamana

Hopefully, parents understand the results of their actions are unpredictable and kids often exercise what control they do have in most tragic, destructive ways.

#DadRappers Is Trending, But What Are We Saying?

June 1st, 2015 - By Rich
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Hip-Hop dads are all the rage these days. Late last week, as I finished my column, I hopped on Twitter and saw a trending topic that resonated with me. It was #DadRappers. Folks from all walks of live, but mostly white people, were talking about #DadRappers in a most humorous way on the popular social media platform.

And the stream of wanna-be comedians just didn’t stop! Peep the clownery behind the trend.

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Why’d they include Bill Cosby?

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Upon further analysis, the whole thing started by kinda late night game show Chris Hardwick who promoted the trend through his show on Comedy Central and Twitter. I’m not even mad, but the Black man in me wanted to know if they knew what I knew!

We are quietly watching our dad rappers do remarkable things in real life with their children. Take this, jokesters!

Young Jeezy and son.

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Birdman and son.

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Busta Rhymes and son.

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That’s right, all of these #DadRappers, and others, posted their sons graduating from either high school or college on their Instagram accounts. Young Jeezy’s (at the top) son Jadarius Jenkins, 17, graduated from Georgia’s RiverWood Academy and is now looking to go to college for his bachelor’s degree. Bryan “Birdman” Williams may not be smiling, and his real life son (No, not Lil’ Wayne) Bryan, Jr. graduated from high school to everyone’s glee.

Busta Rhymes said, “I must say this has 2 be 1 of the if not thee most proudest moments of my life as a man and as a father 2 see my oldest son @tdot25 graduate frm college 2day. I remember when he was 3 yrs. old in the Woo-Hah video and now he’s an incredibly smart and powerful young/grown man. I love u and couldn’t be more proud of u young KING! Now let’s continue 2 secure the Win.”

I hope you love it, dear reader, because I certainly do.

And, while all is not perfect in the world and people of color continue to proclaim #BlackLivesMatter, it feels refreshing to see these #DadRapper’s pushing their kids out into the world with a solid foundation in education. On top of that, there are more Hip-Hop dudes that aren’t promoting their kids academic wins. They are winning, be clear. I am not so rigid that I can’t laugh at a good hashtag, but I also want people to pay just as much attention to the positive things happening in between the tweets. They are happening.

Hashtag that.

Ask A Black Man, The Fatherhood Episode: Do Black Women Understand The Value Of Fathers In The Home?

May 4th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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In this episode of "Ask A Black Man" six fathers share their co-parenting struggles, the personal highs and lows of being a Black father, battling the stereotypes of deadbeat dads, and whether Black women understand the value of fathers in the home. Check out their perspective in the video above and weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments section.

To see all footage from the second season of Ask A Black Man, click here.