Since this Juneteenth and Father’s Day are the same day, I want to celebrate the black fathers, I personally don’t feel like they get celebrated enough. Not only have I had amazing fatherly figures in my own family I have witnessed black fathers all over social media and in-person promoting “black boy joy” and “black girl magic”. Teaching these young boys and girls to love the skin they’re in and understand that life for them will be hard but that does not mean that you give up on your dreams.
Stopping Black Fathers’ Stereotypes Dope Black Dads
A stereotype that is finally dissipating is black children either don’t know who their father is or that their father left them. Marvyn Harrison is the founder of Dope Black Dads, who crowdsourced knowledge from black fathers as well as showcased how to raise happy and successful children. While scrolling through their Instagram page you see nothing but positive vibes and fathers being active in their children’s lives.
It is flourishing not only with happy, funny videos but with advice and relatable experiences for other fathers. Harrison, who is also a father, felt that it was necessary to create a platform for black men to express how much being a father means to them.
He shared this in his story, “…sent a Whatsapp message to a group of friends expressing that he was thinking of them and that he appreciated the work they did as fathers. The response was immediate. An outpouring of appreciation for shared successes and shared failures as black fathers. The group became a community that advised one another on the pitfalls and joys of black fatherhood and masculinity in a society that often overlooked, stereotyped, and negated their experiences.”
This began a widespread knowledge for black fathers who have no one else to turn to. Imagine someone coming up to you and saying I see you, you’re doing an amazing job, and I’m proud of you. I’ll pause while you take a second to cry… Anyone that notices the hard work you do just brings this wave of emotions that ultimately makes you feel good.
That is what Dope Black Dads is about, making black men feel seen and giving them the affirmations they didn’t know they needed. Harrison made the name ‘Black Dope’ and extended it to not only speak about dads, but moms, men, women, queers, and even disabled people. So everyone can feel that sense of pride in who they are and what they do.
Single Black Fathers on Father’s Day
Black fathers, specifically single black fathers, are the most ignored demographic, and yet more and more men have stepped up to the plate. About 7% of black children reside with single fathers, single black fathers are the smallest percentage but by no means does that lessen their hard work or impact. This topic is bound to get a few single mothers upset, however, it should be a topic that they can relate to.
Single mothers raise their children as both mother and father working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. The same would go for single fathers except women don’t get approached by others saying how sweet it is that they are giving dad a break. I am by no means saying that men being fathers is harder than a woman being a mother because the pressure should be equal.
However, I am saying that as someone who has seen what several men are currently going through as single fathers I have to commend them for doing what so many have counted them out for. It is another stereotype that once the mom leaves dad is at a loss and the children take over. Most fathers can hold their own when the mother is not present. Black parents are breaking generational curses.
Black fathers who were raised without a father or a good father figure often opt to make sure that their children never feel the way they might have. On Facebook, I saw a black father buying his daughter a pretty dress and flowers to take her out on a date. The message behind this was so that when his daughter grows up she would know how she should be treated and not settle for less. It is lessons like this, small but effective choices parents make that can change the outcome of a child’s life.
So I say, praise the father, stepfather, and uncles that have stepped up and raised or helped raise a child. It isn’t easy and as someone of color helping raise a young boy of color, this world is a scary place but I will make sure he will love every bit of his melanin.
Celebrate Juneteenth too
As previously stated in my article last year, not just on Juneteenth but every day, I remind myself that being black is a blessing, one that should be celebrated.
On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth, the ending of slavery across America, was made a Federal Holiday. Let’s not use this holiday as just another day off but as a day to celebrate and educate ourselves on black history.
There is still so much we don’t know, for example, take the time out to research the black cities/ towns that have disappeared. Listen on Spotify to Jubilee: the Juneteenth edition by Maverick City music, I promise it will change your life. Use this day as a day to celebrate your black friends by simply acknowledging them. Acknowledge that even though their lives are harder they are exceeding expectations and flourishing in a world that was created to hate them.
Happy Father’s Day, Black Father’s Day, and Juneteenth!