Here's Why Black Fathers Are Making Us Proud & Killing The Parenting Game!

Here's Why Black Fathers Are Making Us Proud & Killing The Parenting Game!
Shannon Sanders

OK, raise your hand if you know a good father! Although the late Jim Morrison once said that “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind”, when it comes to the oftentimes MIA stories of the unsung black fathers who are making a major impact in the world, we refuse to cosign on that. We’re more in the lane of what Will Smith once said: “There’s so much negative imagery about fatherhood. I’ve got a ton of friends who are doing the right thing by their kids, and doing the right thing as a father. How come that’s not newsworthy?”

We totally agree, Will and we’re doing our part! Yeah, despite what the media might be peddling, the reality is there are a lot of black fathers showing up BIG TIME for their children, families and community as a whole.

Take an article that was featured on Sassy Plum, for instance. It cited the fact that when it comes to helping their children with their homework, preparing their meals and doing daily activities with them, Black fathers participate more with their kids than white or Hispanic ones do. (They didn’t make that up either. It’s data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention!) The article goes on to share that while it’s true that many children are raised by single parents “67 percent of black fathers that do live apart from their children see them at least once a month, compared to 59 percent and 32 percent of white and Latino dads, respectively”. Yeah, that pretty much throws the “deadbeat dad” theory out of the water, doesn’t it?

Or how about an article that was published last year on The New York Times website? Guess what its title was: “Black Dads Are Doing Best of All”. It addressed the fact that while reportedly 72 percent of Black children may be born to single mothers, we can’t overlook that many couples are living together even though they may not be married. At the very least, they are healthy co-parents.

Big ups to Huffington Post for their piece entitled “5 Lies We Should Stop Telling About Black Fatherhood”. A point it brought up is that while (unfortunately) many Black children grew up in father-absent homes, that doesn’t prevent them from being good fathers themselves.

Seth, Shannon And Simone Sanders

Seth, Shannon And Simone Sanders

We’re pretty sure all of us know at least one example of this fact. For us, one is Shannon Sanders. He’s a two-time GRAMMY/Emmy and Dove-award winning producer, musical director for India.Arie and currently GRAMMY president for the Nashville chapter. Shannon was born to a teenager mother and an absent father. 

But thanks to the influence of his grandparents and his conscious decision to forgive his father so that the relationship could be restored, Shannon is a married man (to wife Adriene) and the father of three children: Shannon (24), Simone (21) and Seth (13). The feature picture that you see? That was at his son, Shannon Jr.’s graduation from Morehouse College last spring. Shannon (Jr.) has a degree in Economics (and even speaks Chinese!).

When asked what it takes to be a great father, Shannon paused and said:

“Patience. Acceptance. Being intentional about being available. Not being afraid to be affectionate. Providing, not only monetarily, but emotionally and spiritually. A couple of weeks ago, Shannon told me that he can’t remember one game he had that I wasn’t there for. That really meant a lot to me. Children need to know that you are there for them. Saying ‘I love you’ is important, but your actions really need to back that up.”

Shannon’s aware of the statistics about absentee dads. He thinks there are layers that must be discussed more openly: “Sometimes you have to remember that even your parents have challenges and that there’s more to the story than you might think. I made the decision that the best way for him to make it up to me was to be a good grandfather to my kids, and he’s done that. Besides, picking wounds doesn’t allow them to heal.”

Shannon also believes what Will said about negativity being spotlighted more than what’s positively happening in the community. “I have a lot of friends who are great parents,” shares Shannon. Then he stresses, “When given the opportunity. It’s a huge misconception that 'most black fathers’ are absent from the home, insensitive, disrespectful to women. We can’t act like the PTSD of slavery has not affected us or that some of us didn’t have a healthy childhood. But at the same time, many of us are passionate about caring for our children. No matter what the family dynamic might be, mothers and fathers need to work together because we are not ‘raising children’, we’re actually raising adults and there’s no question that children are better off when their father is present in their lives. Just because the relationship didn't work out, that doesn't mean that children don't need to be close to their fathers.”

Clearly y’all, just because (a lot of) the media may not shout it from the rooftops, that doesn’t mean that black fathers aren’t present and accounted for in a really big, significant and lasting way.

So, if you know a black father who’s killing the game, raising the standard and bucking the stereotype of the absentee dad, tell him “thank you”. Not only is he making an impact on his children, but our community as a whole.

Oh, and if you want to jam out to some music about Black fatherhood, Shannon wrote a few. Check ‘em out below.

"That Old Man" Written, Produced And Performed By Shannon Sanders

"Man Up" Written, Produced And Performed By Shannon Sanders

"Daddy's Little Girl" Written, Produced And Performed By Shannon Sanders

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