Please check out my Kickstarter video and take a moment to support. Even $1 pledge will help the cause. Many thanks! #BetOnlackDadsTweet
Bet On Black Dads
“So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle—that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father to my girls; that if I could give them anything, I would give them that rock—that foundation—on which to build their lives. And that would be the greatest gift I could offer.” —President Barack Obama, Fathers Day 2008 speech at Apostolic Church of God
Regular readers know that I’ve been unusually absent from this space. Now I can reveal why: I’ve been hard at work on my third book, titled Bet on Black: African-American Women Celebrate Fatherhood in the Age of Barack Obama.
The idea for the book stems in part from the quote above. When I first read those words from then-presidential candidate Obama, I recognized my own story in his message. I know firsthand the value of the gift he sought to give Sasha and Malia; I was raised by a single father who valued taking care of his children above all, who taught me to expect as much from the world as I expect from myself, and who never had to tell me that I could do anything, because he showed me that I could do everything.
The media would have you think that my daddy is an anomaly. There are a million songs, movies and books (and Tumblrs!) about mamas, but it’s the rare artist who waxes poetic about Dad’s ability to help conjure up the mortgage payment each month or take out the garbage on the coldest day of the year. The picture is even bleaker when it comes to Black dads. As a group, they’re characterized as deadbeat, sex-crazed sperm donors who don’t care how many babymamas they leave in their wake. But I know that there’s more to the story. Bet on Black aims to tell it.
Today marks the beginning of our Kickstarter presale. If you’re interested in this book’s mission, it’s a great time to buy. You’ll help my independent publisher fund the first print run, and get cool perks in the process, like signed copies, handwritten notes to your dad, limited edition t-shirts and VIP treatment at our NYC launch event next month.
Please order your copy here: http://bit.ly/14VDx7w. Thanks for your support!Tweet
Combating the Worst with the Best
This post and accompanying digital care package from the awesome Dr. Yaba Blay is the best thing ever. You probably heard the heartbreaking story of Tiana Parker, a seven-year-old girl in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was sent home for wearing dreads, saying her hair was unacceptable according to their dress code.
In a touching display of love for Tiana, who is being taught by the world that her natural texture makes her less than the beautiful young lady she is, Blay created this book of 111 photos of and messages from women who proudly wear locs. Please click through to view and share it widely with the children in your life who need to know that they are beautiful, too.
And while you’re at it, sign this petition calling for the school, Deborah Brown Community School, to apologize to Tiana and her family.
Word? Sheryl Underwood Calls Black Hair “Nasty”
I don’t think I need to say anything. Read on…
Best. Breastfeeding. Video. Ever.
Seriously, watch it. It’s catchy and informative!
How cute is this baby’s hair!? Gonna have to tuck this one away for when Babygirl’s hair gets longer. And her little outfit is giving me life right now.
As a university tutor in my hometown, a city which is roughly 40% black and 37% white, I still had students asking me, “Do they just never learn how to talk right?” I pull up a chair when this happens, “Listen up, gang.” So what do I tell them? Well, the goal is to convey that, scientifically speaking, non-standard varieties of English such as the English spoken by Rachel Jeantel and the ‘proper English’ they’ve been taught are equally communicative. I go over the differences and point out that both have a rule system that must be followed to speak convincingly.
But then, I don’t see why there should need to be that justification. So I end up trying to teach respect. If they have a student that speaks a non-standard variety of English, they need to understand that that student is therefore competent in understanding at least two versions of English: the version they speak at home and other safe environments, and the one forced upon them when listening to you. Respect that.
The alarmingly pervasive idea that standard English equates to ‘good grammar’ and non-standard English equates to ‘bad grammar’ is false and exclusionary. When it’s used in conjunction with intelligence and credibility of a young black woman, it’s reminiscent of the faulty scientific racism of “The Bell Curve.” But language shaming is currently acceptable behavior in the status quo. It is one of the last bastions of unabashed racism and classism.
But also just because “standard” English is most common doesn’t mean it is best or right and I feel like its reference as “standard” here rather than “common” reinforces that idea.
A Moment of Silence
“That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise.
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.”
— Langston Hughes, “Justice,” 1923 (via harriettumbles, via itsmemo)
Those who know me well, know that my silence following the trivialization of Trayvon Martin's murder is an unusual one, pregnant with despair and anger and helplessness. I'm having a difficult time searching for The Solution; there are no rainbows over there, my smile doesn't shine in my eyes, my heart doesn't envision a bright side. I have no words that make sense of it all, no thoughts on how we can change this country into a land that values the lives of Black children, no rallying cry to spur you to action. I can only pray that the hope I see in my child will be birthed into the world, whole, healthy, and screaming for all it's worth, forcing this country to attend to it.
B+G M Featured As One of Red Tricycle’s Favorite DC-area Blogs
“Mom Kenrya spent so much time waxing poetic about the virtues of pocket diapers and why she can’t live without her baby carrier that she decided to compile her thoughts and tips into one handy eco-minded blog. She feels that being a Black mother who has worked in media for more than a decade gives her a unique perspective on the green movement and she strives to help others realize their “hippie” potential. She hopes you can pick up a couple tips to make your parenting journey easier, healthier, greener and more fun.”
Thanks, Red Tricycle!