Combing hair, changing diapers and picking out outfits are things that moms are usually tasked with doing for the children. The internet flew into a frenzy recently, when a photo of a Black man combing his toddler daughter’s hair while standing with his infant daughter strapped into a baby carrier across his chest, went viral. The photo was shared countless times and with it came a lot of commentary about it, some negative, but mostly positive.
A particular comment on Facebook of a woman rhetorically asking why the photo was such a big deal, caught my eye. She said that the image was the norm for her, as her father regularly took care of her and combed her hair as a child. In full context, the point of what she was trying to say was that what we were seeing should be the norm, because it happens all the time.
I don’t disagree with that idea, but the reality is, the national perception of a Black man in America is not that of a baby-carrying-hair-combing father.Thugs and criminals? Yes. Loving husbands and competent dads? Not so much.
Dads in general don’t get a lot of shine these days, let alone Black fathers. Our BMWK co-founder Lamar Tyler always says, “Father’s Day is the most disrespected holiday of the year!” I know exactly what he means by that, which is why I’m happy that this story is bringing great dads (of all backgrounds) the attention they deserve.
My husband is a stay-at-home dad and I have marveled at how well he takes care of our daughter. Admittedly, he doesn’t comb her hair (he’s slowly starting to learn, though!), but that’s just about all he doesn’t do when it when it comes to her. He changed her diapers, made her bottles, gives her baths, reads stories, drinks fake tea…you name it – he does it.
Having grown up without my father in the home, I love watching the two of them together. I look forward to seeing how their relationship will help shape the person she is destined to become. I often seek ways to celebrate my husband for his efforts. Not because he deserves a special medal for taking care of his responsibilities, but because everyone, no matter who they are – should be acknowledged for giving their best.
It’s time to change the narrative about Black fatherhood from third person, to first – as their stories are best told in their own words.
Click the links below to find ways to give some shine and support to good dads around the internet:
Today (and everyday) I salute you, gentleman! Thank you for doing your part and doing it with pride.
BMWK – If you know a good dad, shout him out in the comments below!