The “rolling out Father’s Day” series spotlights incredible Black dads on their journeys through fatherhood.
Today we are spotlighting producer and musician D’vante Black. Black may be a heavy hitter in the music industry, but at home the people who love him call him dad.
What legacy are you leaving for your children and the children of your community?
I have no biological children but several that I claim as mine alone, my adopted daughter, now in college, and my stepdaughter, both of whom I love dearly. I also try to be a father figure for the children in our community by offering motivational talks at local schools, community centers and churches. I most hope my legacy is offered to each child I meet when I tell my story and explain to each one just what they can become when they set their goals high and then reach to achieve them.
How would you describe your fatherhood culture?
My fatherhood culture has been most diverse. I have seen and lived among the best and the worst. Those who have influenced me most have been those in my community who sought to work with youngsters in the community just as I do today. My Boy Scout leader was inspiring as well as some of the music teachers who were a part of my life. When family members were unable to step up, community leaders were always there.
From a father’s perspective, what two books would you recommend every child read?
I enjoy reading even in this technological age, so picking just two books is difficult. My first pick would be To Kill A Mockingbird. I believe in that story Atticus Finch personified the image of just what a father should be. He listened to his children when he should and was firm when he needed to be. He also taught them to stand strong for what they believe.
My second book would have to be the Bible. In working with youngsters and the Bible, I would choose either the NIV (New International Version) or the CEV (Contemporary English Version). Both of these versions would be easy for youngsters to read and understand and also easy for an adult to explain to the children. There many fathers shown in the Bible, both good and bad. Any adult working with children would find it easy to explain using the Bible to show what a good father should or should not be.
Why is it important to expose children to education and valuable skills?
Everyone today will need the most education they can achieve. Employers are looking for the most educated workers to employ. In a digital world, technological skills will soon be needed at every level.
Young people also need the skills that should be taught by their fathers. How to change a tire, change oil, and even replace a light bulb should be learned at home.
As a father and a life coach, describe your playbook.
My playbook would say:
- Know your place in the formation.
No matter how you soar, there is always someone moving faster than you are. It is important to know when to follow and when to lead.
- Listen to your instructor.
Before you are able to speak up and lead, you had to first listen to what your instructors had to say.
- Be honest as you play the game. While there are fouls and flags even in the game of life, each player must understand that there are consequences for not playing fairly. Honesty is always the best play.
Which fatherhood experiences have taught you the most about yourself?
Not always having my father in my life has taught me how important it is to be available consistently in a child’s life. My experiences have taught me to be listen to the child no matter where or when.
What insightful advice would you suggest about building a network?
Everyone moving forward must have a network to call on. The network is available to offer both information and advice. What one knows another might not. When working with youth, it important to help them understand the importance of building a strong network.
Why should you read every day?
Reading each day is important as it helps us understand where we’ve been and where we are going. The classics and other old readings can help us understand where we’ve been. New readings help us know which way we’re going as we move forward. With all of the electronic methods we have to read today, there is no excuse for not reading something each day. Reading can also be relaxing at the end of the day.
Name one life lesson that no one taught you, but should have.
I wish someone would have taught me to have patience. I have found it easy to lash out when maybe I should have been quiet. I wish someone had taught me to just take a few deep breaths, pause and be patient.
How important is keeping your word?
Many children today have not been taught that your word is your bond. That is an important part of a father’s job. Everyone must understand that what you say tells others who you are. Men who lie or do not keep their word do not achieve anything in life.
When it comes to protecting yourself at all times, physically and mentally, what would you tell your children?
Young children must know how to gird themselves both mentally and physically as they grow. It is extremely hard in these dangerous and chaotic times. I would explain to the child how to protect themselves in any situation. Children, today especially, must know when to fight and when to listen and obey. Mentally, youngsters should know when to count to four, breathe, and then pause and speak to God.