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I’ve always found the concept of fatherhood to be one that is both complex and triggering, especially for members of the African American community.

And over the years, I’ve found myself growing increasingly more at odds with the narrative that Black men are incapable of being good fathers.

I’ve come across a number of data points and think pieces, all of which support the idea that men of color are either perpetually missing in action or lack the wherewithal necessary to be vulnerable and emotionally available to their children.

The supporting evidence is almost stifling:

38.7% of Black children under the age of 18 live with both parents.

57.6% of Black children are living absent their biological fathers.

55.1% of all Black children are living in single-parent homes

Do the above statistics have merit?

Most definitely.

But what’s so problematic about the subsequent statistics, however, is the fact that it creates a narrative that isn’t wholly accurate. These statistics and data points fail to recognize the Black men who are very much so present and play an active role in the lives of their children.

I personally know a number of Black men who are incredible fathers and whose actions consistently disprove the deleterious storyline that absentee fathers reign supreme within the African American community.

One such father is two-time Super Bowl champion, community activist, husband and proud father of three, Torrey Smith. For him, fatherhood has been an invaluable journey that he welcomed and continues to embrace daily. His refreshing perspective was one that I found inspiring, and allowed me to take away a few insightful gems that Black men like myself don’t often hear, including: