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Morris Chestnut gives words of encouragement to Black fathers at 2023 ABFF

Morris Chestnut shares his experience as a Black father in America

Bringing Black stories to the forefront, Malcolm D. Lee, Morris Chestnut, and Larenz Tate, spoke about their experiences as fathers at the American Black Film Festival. Chestnut spoke with rolling out about his experience as a father and gave advice to young Black fathers facing challenges.

As a celebrity and a father, how do you navigate the balance between your public image and your role as a parent?

I never let my public image affect how I parent my kids. Other than to use it as an example, my experiences are supposed to convey a point, but I don’t let it interfere with how I parent.

How do you think the media representation of Black fathers can be used to accurately reflect their challenges and success?

I think the message that the media can put out is conveying more positive stories. If there’s ever a story in the media about a Black father, it feels like it’s negative. If we convey more positive stories about Black fathers, I think that will help change the narrative.

As we strive for progress and change, what advice or words of encouragement would you give to young Black fathers who may be facing obstacles or doubt in their abilities?

We talk about young Black fathers, but it’s a challenge being a father period. Specifically for young Black fathers, there are challenges in the corporate world and trying to provide for our families that Black fathers have and other races don’t. If I was to give any encouraging advice, it’s tough. What I would say is what I tell my son, continue to develop what you do and continue to be a good person.

How do you navigate the demands of your career, while also prioritizing your role as a parent?

Now that’s challenging. I have missed talent shows and some games because there is a give and take. But when I’m home for three months, I’m right back in the mix with the family. I try to make a lot of positive moves as a parent.

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