After the killing of George Floyd in 2020, I struggled with how to respond. After reflecting, I decided to be an agent for change, and use my talents as an actor and film maker to create content that would move people to think differently. I was struck by the dehumanization of Mr. Floyd, and thought, if people could see the humanity in black men, then the response to their presence would more likely be positive rather than negative. With such a huge issue, the question then became, where do I start?
Every journey begins with the all-important first step, and after discussions with a few close friends about fatherhood, my first step landed on debunking the false narrative that black men are not present in the lives of their children. While it is true that fatherless children are an issue across the board, the idea that it is only a black community problem is further from the truth. There is a large percentage of men in the black community that are indeed “very” present with their kids; whether they live at the household or are in a relationship other than their child's mother, black men are present - and there is data to prove it.
This is why I am on this journey, to tell the story of black fathers in a documentary called "BlackfatherHOOD - The Other Hood", to tell the stories of black men who work hard to stay visible in their children's lives. These men know the challenges children face, and recognize the importance of providing an example, and fatherly love, where these children can thrive. It's these chapters in the story about black families that are not always told, and we plan to open the pages of these hidden chapters and tell how black men are just as dedicated in fulfilling their responsibilities as fathers. They get up every morning and face the trials of the day, sometimes having to swallow their pride to meet the needs of their families. It isn't perfect. At times they have fallen short like other human beings. But to be defined by this myth is simply not fair, and through this project, strive to open people’s eyes and minds, and change attitudes, so there can be healthier and more balanced perceptions about Black Fathers. If people can see and accept black men as loving caring parents, it’s not a stretch to ask or expect people to see them as loving and caring individuals in other aspects of society.
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