Education, Interests and Goals, Our Youth, Stories, Talking and Listening, Youth Development

[FATHER/HOOD] Hip-Hop Parenting

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Photo © Zire Photography

I’m powerfully aware that the entire notion of hip-hop being a frame for parenting can come across as corny. But all parents borrow from their cultural influences to make this journey more manageable and interesting.

Graf writing: This was how I introduced her to the visual arts. Her mother is much better versed than I am, so she took my introduction and amplified it to museum attendance and artistic production. It was a trip to see aimless scribbles turn into things that I could actually identify.

Deejaying: Music has power, I tell her. It can amp you up before dealing with a challenge, or it can be a friend to you when you’re feeing sad. It can move crowds to ecstasy, or it can signal war. It can be a biography of your life. I gave her a copy of her birth playlist (the list of songs I wanted my daughter to be born to, the first music I wanted her to hear). We’ve had long conversations about why I chose the songs I did.

B-boying/girling: I emphasize to her that her body is her body, and it can do amazing things. You can defy gravity for seconds at a time, or you can root yourself to the ground. She dances every single day, and her favorite movie is The Freshest Kids.

Emceeing: Language is powerful. We are teaching her that her word is bond, and if she gives her word, she should follow through with it. We also teach her not to privilege words all the time. Sometimes the story is in the silences.

As I review these words, I’m powerfully aware that the entire notion of hip-hop being a frame for parenting can come across as corny, or reaching, or “doin’ too much.” But all parents borrow from their cultural influences to make this journey more manageable and interesting. Hip-hop is as much a part of who I am as my tattoos. Its influence is permanent.

Recently talking to my homeboy (whom I look up to as a veteran parent), he admitted to watching all eight seasons of The Cosby Show, taking notes, and emulating the Cos while raising his twins.
We do what we gotta do. Word.

Author: Shawn Taylor @RealLovePunk

Source: Ebony Life

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About Proud Poppas United

A former Youth Division Aide and Mental Health Therapist with the Office of Children and Family Services turned his reduction-in-force experience into a win-win situation, and many are reaping this harvest. When Tyrone “Zire” McCants, who is also a versatile services photographer and visionary in the Phoenix, AZ, lost his job; he took his youthful interest in photography and his prior knowledge from working in a family-centered position into new ventures. He even figured out a way to coincide his two passions into meaningful opportunities to advance his cause. The layoff he faced freed him up to develop his photography business (Zire Photography & Graphics) and to showcase his skills as a prolific artist. One of those ventures that McCants created was an initiative called Proud Poppas United; which is a community-based group designed to strengthen the bonds between fathers & their children. It aims to encourage a tradition of fatherhood and family, increasing the number of active fathers in our community. When McCants isn’t intellectually cultivating his repertoire of talents, he manages to merge his interest in photography with his desire and passion for fatherhood. Using the Proud Poppas Photo Project, as his flagship initiative, he displays images which celebrate and encourage the pride of being an active father. In many minority and ethnic communities, there is a progressive concern of absentee fathers and the devastating effects of this challenge on our children, our families, and community. He also believes that by displaying these images will help to shed light on and celebrate the gift of fatherhood. He hopes that this movement will also become contagious and bring other men closer to their children and families, and encourage a presence of well-being and development in our children, our families, our communities and our people as a whole. McCants quotes that “My scope is capturing the energy between a father and his children” and that’s what he is creating through his community development initiatives. Through, a first look into the reality concerning “Responsible Fathers” many disturbing statistics and contributing factors related to absent fathers. But, to the credit of McCants, he has been able to overlook the negative stereotypes and prejudices that have perpetuated his community and rise to the occasion. Although, he wears many hats that provide guidance and leadership to the infrastructure of his life’s purpose. To all of the fathers out there with the silent victories of triumph and the principle-centered leadership; who fight depression, financial woes, relationship conflicts, the penal system and the racism of our day; McCants say’s “Thank you” for all that you have been able to get accomplished behind your veil of anonymity. You have just endured the last 13 years of this millennium, and you are still here to tell about it. Although some will say that these last few years have been amazing they are still asleep to the fact that; we (The black community) must work with higher ideals versus dollars and cents. We must look within ourselves and see us as being brave, black, accountable, and reliable. The truth of the matter is that you are embracing fatherhood but at a frequency that may not be understood. I am with you as we will not look at the diluted statistics but at the “transformational leadership” that is displayed by all black fathers and role models everywhere. Don’t give up now as our families are leaning on you in these times of difficulty to represent us to the best of your ability as the “Mighty Men of Valor.” You are the man for the job, and now it’s time to come out of hiding and show the world what real black men look like; and we represent as a tribe of Intellectual builders, teachers, warriors, leaders and Kings. “Fatherhood is not a right; it’s a privilege. Your children are the best part of you. I send my love to this new generation of fathers who have learned from the sins of the past and take a very active role in the lives of our children. ~RAPPER TALIB KWELI, FATHER OF TWO


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