What do Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Barack Obama and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter have in common? Fatherhood.
Jay-Z and his daughter, Blue Ivy, are all over today’s news headlines. What does this say to the brother who doesn’t know who his father is? How will he treat his future son or daughter? Will he love and understand them?
We wonder if President Obama has set the bar too high? Maybe men don’t identify with him as a father and the new image of African American fatherhood.
While seated in the audience at Morehouse College’s commencement, President Obama demanded respect for women. The applause from the crowd was deafening, illustrating the crowd’s excitement that someone finally said what they were all thinking. It is Father’s Day and we must also remember that it’s father’s time.
Being a father can be seen today from so many perspectives. It can still be a tragedy for fathers who are in prison and absent. What must they do? Not having a father in the home has a psychologically profound effect on children. We must follow a mandate, and if necessary, change how we father today.
Each and every day we see there are men who have taken over the race. We see fathers like Lil Wayne attend to their children and not try to erase their responsibility. Can we compare ourselves to him? Can we start fatherhood too early, creating compounding problems that last?
Nas wrote “Daughters,” a song where he speaks from the heart to his daughter. There are others who dedicate songs to discuss what they’ve done wrong and the father they never they never knew or had. Is that a reason to treat a young sister or the mother of your children badly?
Excuses removed, the children lose. Make sure we treat our children like stars. They’re the reason we should push ourselves and work a second job if necessary. It’s a new day. Fatherhood is for all black men to give what they didn’t receive.
What did MLK do? He fathered a movement. We see other men who make a difference like Rev. Al Sharpton and David Dinkins. Fatherhood is playing a role. Take, for example, the great LeBron James. We know the mother of his children and we his family in commercials with him. We know that he takes them to the barbershop. We know that Steve Harvey has sons and two lovely daughters, and he sets examples for what men should do. We have Tom Joyner, who’s taken the time to father and create a charity where he’s giving millions of dollars to educate our children.
Let us not forget the fathers who make sacrifices during wars, like Colin Powell and the men who serve in the military and are separated from their families. Much respect to those who give and set examples we retain — starting with the tears that run from their children’s faces because he’s absent. It’s truly a reflection of pain. Let’s remove these stains from the souls of our children and express greatness where we can.
Change today. Don’t worry about yesterday because you can’t change the past. Being a great father or a surrogate will have a profound effect on our future.
Shout-outs to all fathers who do what they can. Let’s stand up and reflect on a positive African American man.