Over the last couple of years I have been lucky enough to have taken?part?in a variety of projects that I believe in. In 2008 alone I have been published in a compilation book entitled Our Black Fathers: Brave, Bold?& Beautiful, I?am being featured?in the recently released documentary film Being Dad,? and I was interviewed by Michel Martin on her nationally syndicated NPR radio show Tell Me More. Additionally I have been quoted by -?and have appeared in?- Time magazine along with my son, interviewed by the Associated Press for an article on race and parenting, quoted and linked to by CBS News.com, and much more. I’m?thrilled (and surprised, let’s be real) that so many media outlets have approached me for my opinion parenting, race, and being a father.
When my son was born his body temperature was a bit low. In order to get it to normal he was taken away and put under a special baby-warming heat lamp. While the treatment was being explained to me I thought of flame broiling burgers at Burger King. My kid was going to be delicious.
After being out of my sight for a few seconds I decided to go looking for him. I found my brand new little guy across the hall wearing a tiny diaper and a gauze cap. He seemed vulnerable in the small room as he was slowly being warmed up. I looked him over, counting fingers and toes, and took in the fact that we shared a face. And I noted that his navel was gross.
In an instant it was like the weight of the world landed upon my shoulders. I suddenly realized I was going to be responsible for helping him become a good man – a good black man. I knew my life would never be the same again.
Eventually I built up the nerve to touch him (after a little encouragement from the nurse that had come and gone) and I placed my pinky finger in his munchkin hand. In a voice that he seemed to recognize I whispered to him that I would be there for him no matter what obstacles he may face in this life. I told him how difficult becoming a black man would be, but that together we would make it. I’ll never forget those first moments I spent alone with my son as his dad. They inspired me to continue to do everything I do today!
I graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Urban Studies from Hunter College and I recently became?Business Director?of a start-up charter school committed to giving?quality educations to?inner city children, and?an a viable alternative to parents that believed they didn’t have one.?This is in addition to my work with Malecare, Inc as a program director/developer. My wife Shalawn, is a licensed Medical Social Worker and psychotherapist, and my four year old son Devin is, as of this writing,?unemployed.
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FYI – The image in the header is of my son, and was taken during our summer vacation in 2006. He was three years old at the time.