Jay Z, who just became a father all over again earlier this week, is also making news for a different reason. It seems he’s stepping up his involvement in social issues. One way he’s getting involved is what he’s doing this Father’s Day. He was inspired by what he saw last month by what various organizations did on Mother’s Day.
“Last month for Mother’s Day, organizations like Southerners on New Ground and Color of Change did a major fundraising drive to bail out 100 mothers for Mother’s Day. Color of Change’s exposè on the for-profit bail industry provides deeper strategy behind this smart and inspiring action,” he wrote in an essay for Time, in the closing of what was an ultimate indictment of the bail-bond industry, as a racist institution that exploits people who are poor and Black.
His mentioning of Color of Change was essential seeing how Black women are the fastest growing prison demographic. This Father’s Day weekend, however, he put forth a plea in hopes of generating help for incarcerated dads who remain sidelined by one of the numerous broken parts of the criminal justice system.
“This Father’s Day, I’m supporting those same organizations to bail out fathers who can’t afford the due process our democracy promises. As a father with a growing family, it’s the least I can do, but philanthropy is not a long fix, we have to get rid of these inhumane practices altogether. We can’t fix our broken criminal justice system until we take on the exploitative bail industry.”
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Hallmark’s Mahogany brand announced that it will be releasing the Jill Scott Collection, a line of new greeting cards with design, sounds and an editorial ‘voice’ from none other than Jill Scott herself.
“The Mahogany brand is genuine, progressive and optimistic – values that are important to me and reflected in my music and poetry, and now, through my card collection,” said Jill Scott. “I was inspired by highlights within my own life – love, marriage, motherhood – in the writing behind these cards, and I am excited to be involved in a project that will give others another way to express their love to the people that matter most to them.”
The collection features 20 cards for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as well as cards celebrating graduation, friendship, love and support. “Ms. Scott is more than a singer, songwriter and actress – among other things, she is a busy mom and wife, like many Hallmark shoppers who cherish and celebrate the important relationships in their lives, and this card collection is a reflection of that,” said Philip Polk, Vice President of Multicultural Strategy for Hallmark Cards.
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?
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?
According to mic.com, even though research from the U.S. government shows that common myths about absentee black fathers are false, they persist. To challenge those myths, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement released a series of photos highlighting black family life.
The campaign coupled each photo, shot by photographer Zun Lee, with a statistic from a CDC study about black fatherhood:
1. Black dads are more involved with their kids on a daily basis than dads from other racial groups.
2. Black fathers ate meals with their young children more than their white and Latino counterparts.
3. Black fathers also escorted their 5-to-18-year-old children to activities more than fathers of other races.
4. More black fathers live with their kids than live apart from them.
5. Over 70 percent of black dads bathe, diaper or dress their children every day.
6. For those black fathers who did live separate from their children, they read to their kids, changed diapers and helped with homework more often than other dads.
7. A higher percentage of black fathers — 40.6 percent — help with homework or check homework than white fathers.
8. A higher percentage of black fathers — 34.9 percent — read to their kids daily than white fathers.
Twitter users who wish to contribute to fighting myths of black fatherhood have used the hashtag #BlackMaleReimagined to share their own photos.
This morning, President Barack Obamahosted a special Father’s Day Luncheon inside the White House’s State Dining Room as part of his ongoing commitment to fatherhood and families. Joining the president at the lunch were fathers and their children, along with students and officials from the Becoming A Man (BAM) program in Chicago.
Stressing a message regarding the importance of strong families bonds and the value of mentorship, Obama has made fatherhood a focal point of conservation since his first term. Today’s lunch was an informal affair, and served as an unofficial follow-up from the president after a February visit to Chicago’s Hyde Park Academy High School. From the BAM program, 14 students and five chaperones were present to partake of simple fare such as burgers, fries, salads, and other snacks.
“It is good to see all of you here, so many young people, so many outstanding dads, a few moms chaperoning,” said Obama to his guests, according to a Chicago Tribune report. “Obviously, this is a great way for us to celebrate Father’s Day and just to remind ourselves, those of us who are fathers, how lucky we are.” After lunch, Obama gave his visitors a quick tour of the Oval Office before breaking with the group who went on to participate in a roundtable discussion focused on mentoring with White House officials.
Obama, a father of two daughters, 14-year-old Malia, and 12-year-old Sasha, said at the event that fatherhood is “the best job I’ve got.”
THE SOCIAL SERIES PROJECT is a series of online campaigns that promotes positive images in society through imagery. In a world filled with negative images, KUU photography wants to take responsibility and create balance through amazing visual arts. They present the first edition titled: “Fatherhood Is…”
Sabrina Thompson, who created “Fatherhood Is…”, has the simple goal to photograph and share photos of black fathers interacting with their children. She herself compiled images of more than fifty fathers into the above video and encourages viewers to share and upload photographs of themselves with their African-American fathers via social media during the week leading up to Father’s Day.