Tag: black fathers

EDITORIAL: Disadvantaged Fathers Should Be Supported, Not Stigmatized

DDG Still.jpg

by Omar Epps, Malik Yoba and Emily Abt

The image of the “deadbeat dad” has been and remains pervasive but there are millions of men in America who live in defiance of this stereotype. Our film Daddy Don’t Go” was born from these parallel and enduring realities: that one in three American children is fatherless but there are also countless fathers fighting to be active in their children’s lives who deserve to be seen.

In an effort to better understand the obstacles these men face, we followed four disadvantaged dads –Roy, Nelson, Omar and Alex – over the course of two years as they struggled to be present fathers. The issues in the film are close to our hearts. Omar is the product of a fatherless household but now a proud father of three.  Malik credits his own father with being the inspiration for his perseverance during a tough custody battle. Emily’s grandfather was excluded from her father’s life for his inability to pay child support.  So we were all deeply committed to exploring the issue of fatherlessness when we began making the film three years ago, what did we learn along the way?

Persistent unemployment is a major problem for disadvantaged fathers.  All four of the fathers in “Daddy Don’t Go” very much wanted to work but struggled to get and keep steady jobs.  They are certainly not alone in this struggle.  Working, in America, is in decline. The number of men ages 25 to 54 who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s.

Making this film had us yearning for the work programs of the New Deal era when millions of men were given the opportunity to work and provide financial security for their families. Our current government has made great efforts to enforce child support payments but where are the large-scale job programs for disadvantaged men that could really make a difference?

Our second big take-away from making “Daddy Don’t Go” is that while there have been vast improvements; our family court system still treats men like second-class parents.  Child support payments are mostly shouldered by men but only 18% of fathers have custody of their children.  This means that a man’s financial role in his child’s life continues to be prioritized above his emotional one.
Continue reading “EDITORIAL: Disadvantaged Fathers Should Be Supported, Not Stigmatized”

Omar Epps’ “Daddy Don’t Go” Documentary Tackles Absentee Fathers Stigma

Omar Epps and daugther (photo via blackcelebkids.com)
Omar Epps and daughter K’mari  (photo via blackcelebkids.com)

Omar Epps has signed on to executive produce a feature-length documentary called “Daddy Don’t Go” which shines a light on those fathers who are trying to go against the statistic that 1 in 3 children are growing up fatherless.

Epps released this statement: “Being the product of a fatherless household, Daddy Don’t Go delves into an issue that’s close to my heart.

In the media, we’re always inundated with the notion that black men and/or men from impoverished areas are absent fathers. Though that may be true to an extent, there are also thousands of young men fighting to be active fathers in their children’s lives. This fact gets smothered in the media by rampant negative imagery of black men and fatherless children. Daddy Don’t Go chronicles the journeys of four such men and their respective battles to parent their children. It’s time men like these have a platform and a voice to challenge the statistics and common ideology about the issue of fatherhood.”

The project itself follows four New York fathers as they tackle fatherhood as best they can. Of course, fatherhood is never easy, and this project shows both the highs and the lows of that challenge, but in the end, it’s always worth it.

article via thegrio.com

$400,000 Awarded to 43 Black Fathers, Nonprofit Leaders and Businessmen in Akron, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

(Washington, DC) – This month, forty-three black fathers, nonprofit leaders and businessmen in Akron, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will receive $400,000 in grants to help them strengthen their communities. The grants are presented by BMe Community, a growing national network of 12,000 black men and others of all races and genders who are committed to building better communities across the U.S.

According to BMe Community, the 43 men, called “BMe Leaders”, were nominated by local residents and chosen because they were already consistently helping thousands of their neighbors. Each of the men has also agreed to stand up for important values in America’s evolving dialogue on race, community and our nation’s future.

Specifically, BMe Community believes that the most prosperous way forward for America is to value all its people, recognize black men as assets, reject stories that denigrate people, and work together for our common interests in caring and prosperous communities. The BMe Leaders embody those values. Their personal stories and leadership inspires others to reach for those values as well. Participants in BMe Community use the hashtag #ReachWithUs to share, inspire, and empower each other with words of congratulation, useful information, images, and event invites.

BMe started honoring these 43 “Community Fathers” in local ceremonies that began June 18 and end tomorrow in Detroit on June 27th. The events and BMe Community are backed by private donations, leading foundations and corporations including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, The Heinz Endowments, JP Morgan Chase, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Since 2012, BMe has named 143 BMe Leaders in five cities, sponsored over 100 community events and produced countless stories of solutions and the inspiring people behind them.

One of the first to ever be named a BMe Leader is Shaka Senghor, an author, speaker and leader in criminal justice reform who was named a BMe Leader in 2012 for his efforts in Detroit to increase literacy and decrease violence. The honor came less than two years after he was released from serving 19 years in prison for a crime he committed as a teenager. In the three years since BMe recognized him, Shaka has rattled off an impressive list of accomplishments including being named an MIT Media Lab Fellow, a Kellogg Foundation Community Fellow, being featured in BMe’s bestselling book “REACH: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading and Succeeding” and producing a popular TED Talk titled “Why Your Worst Deeds Shouldn’t Define You.” He currently serves as BMe’s National Outreach Representative.  To see his Ted Talk, watch below:

BMe encourages anyone who shares its values to register for the events or become a participant in the network. www.bmecommunity.org.

BMe Leaders come from all walks of life, ranging in age from 21 to over 80. They are black men who are often unheralded yet lead by example on matters ranging from creating businesses to educating children to protecting human rights. The BMe Leaders work with men and women of all races who also want cities that are prosperous, safe, and provide hope and opportunity to future generations.

“America is at another one of those historic moments where we can choose chaos or community” says Shorters, “These men have always been here. We just admit their existence and invite people of all races and genders to reach with us to build assets, build community and give our children a better story of America’s future.”

The next Induction Ceremony is open to the public tomorrow in Detroit at the University of Michigan Detroit Center, Michigan Room at 1:00 p.m.  RSVP: www.bmecommunity.org/detroit2015

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

 

 

A New Image of Black Fatherhood [PHOTOS]

Giovanni and 9-month-old Ethan chill on their Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn stoop.  (Photo by Marcus Franklin) 

By Marcus Franklin

This photo essay is part of Life Cycles of Inequity: A Colorlines Series on Black Men. In this installment, we explore and challenge the notion that black families face a crisis of fatherhood. The installment includes a dispatch from Baltimore, in which four dads challenge the easy assumption that all children of unwed mothers have absent fathers. 

In June of 2013 I started photographing black men and their children and created The Fatherhood Project, the online home for photos that capture them in ordinary moments. A single dad helping his daughter with math homework during a break at work. A dad teaching his daughter how to walk as they wait to see a doctor. A father and son chilling on a stoop.

Why photograph black men and their children? What’s extraordinary about these subjects?

For starters, black men taking care of our children is, on some level, revolutionary—and a form of resistance to the legacies of laws and other tools used to hinder our ability to parent. During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, for example, fathers were routinely separated from their children as family members were sold. And currently, disproportionately and consistently high incarceration and unemployment rates for black men have made it difficult, if not impossible for many to parent. There’s also the disproportionately high rate of homicide among black men, whether by people in their own communities or at the hands of the state. My own father was murdered by a cop a couple of weeks before my 15th birthday.

As New York Times writer Brent Staples asked in a tweet this past Fathers’ Day: “Imagine yourself jailed on a low-level Rockefeller-era drug charge. Now a felon: denied a job, housing and the vote. How would you ‘Father’”?

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UPTOWN Magazine to Launch Initiative for Fathers of Color

notorious-popU Brands and Nia Enterprises are collaborating to create a brand-new, multi-platform destination created exclusively for fathers of color called Notorious POP. The site will be a go to social destination dedicated to educating, entertaining and inspiring African American fathers and their families. U Brands, which owns and licenses underdeveloped brands that target underserved audiences, is the parent company to print and digital platforms such as Uptown and Hype Hair Magazines. Entertainment and marketing company Nia Enterprises is an authority in the parenting space.

Leonard Burnett, Jr., Co-CEO of U Brands and father of two remarks, “I am excited about our new content destination that will defy stereotypes about our fathers and promote positive portrayals of African American Dads which are often missing in the media.” Notorious POP notes that generally the phrases “Black Fatherhood” and “Black Dad” are accompanied by the phrases absentee and crisis. The statistic that is often reported by the media is that Black fathers are more likely to live separately from their children, but the fact remains that Black Dads are actually more involved with their kids on a daily basis than Dads from other racial groups.”

The mission of Notorious POP is to create a worldwide community for expecting, new and veteran fathers. Notorious POP will debut on Monday, June 2, 2014 and will be an immediate resource for parenting advice and will feature editorial franchises and video content.

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Survey Finds Black Fathers are as Involved with Their Kids as Men of Other Races

On weekdays, Bryan August-Jones wakes before sunrise in his home in Watts. He gets his three sons dressed, then takes them to the baby sitter and to school. On weekends, they go on bike rides and out to eat. (Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times / December 19, 2013)
On weekdays, Bryan August-Jones wakes before sunrise in his home in Watts. He gets his three sons dressed, then takes them to the baby sitter and to school. On weekends, they go on bike rides and out to eat. (Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times / December 19, 2013)

Defying enduring stereotypes about black fatherhood, a federal survey of American parents shows that by most measures, black fathers who live with their children are just as involved as other dads who live with their kids — or more so.  For instance, among fathers who lived with young children, 70% of black dads said they bathed, diapered or dressed those kids every day, compared with 60% of white fathers and 45% of Latino fathers, according to a report released Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Nearly 35% of black fathers who lived with their young children said they read to them daily, compared with 30% of white dads and 22% of Latino dads. The report was based on a federal survey that included more than 3,900 fathers between 2006 and 2010 — a trove of data seen as the gold standard for studying fatherhood in the United States. In many cases, the differences between black fathers and those of other races were not statistically significant, researchers said.

The findings echo earlier studies that counter simple stereotypes characterizing black fathers as missing in action. When it comes to fathers who live with their kids, “blacks look a lot like everyone else,” said Gretchen Livingston, a senior researcher at the Pew Research Center who has previously studied the topic. And in light of the negative stereotypes about black fathers, “that is a story in itself.”

In Watts, Bryan August-Jones battles the stereotype daily. Every weekday, he wakes his three sons before sunrise, gets them dressed, then ferries them to the baby sitter and to school. On weekends, he takes them bicycling or to Red Lobster, which his youngest son — “a little fancy guy” — prefers over McDonalds.  His Latina mother-in-law and her family think black men cannot be good fathers, but “I prove them wrong all the time,” August-Jones said.

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Happy Father’s Day from GBN

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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