This Father's Day hip-hop recording artist and content creator Beleaf is encouraging dads everywhere to flood timelines with images, narratives, and videos of their personal experiences with fatherhood using hashtag #BlackFathersDay. With a YouTube following of nearly 24,000, you may recognize him from his Beleaf in Fatherhood video series where he shares comical stories of life with his wife Yvette and their “chocolate babies.” In a recently released kick-off video for the #BlackFathersDay campaign, Beleaf speaks to the necessity of the movement saying, “they say black fathers aren’t around. They know if they create that to be true, we’ll believe it. So, we have no choice but to flood culture with the images of black fathers being around.”
Countering stereotypes around black fathers, black men, and the black family is a worthy cause given the pervasive negative messaging often associated with blackness. The unfortunate truth is, if your perception has been even remotely shaped by the dominant narratives portrayed in media, you’ve probably bought into the idea of the absentee black father. You may have regurgitated the notion that all “the problems in the black community” are the self-imposed result of the “crisis” of the broken black home. Maybe you've even used these clichés to justify the alarmingly disproportionate rates of incarceration and paranoid, violent policing of black men. The #BlackFathersDay campaign flies in the face of the notion that black men are somehow fundamentally inept, and prone to abandon their children. These messages, often repeated void of any social context or acknowledgment of their systemic contributors, are precisely what Beleaf seeks to negate.
The good news is, through the power of social media, we have the leverage to create our own story lines and the #BlackFathersDay seeks to do just that. "The idea behind it is this," said #BlackFathersDay co-creator Austin Null, "black fathers share their experience and the joys of being a father, and highlight the idea that they are not what the media portrays them as."
Null, who produces the wildly successful YouTube vlogging series The Nive Nulls starring he, his wife Brittany, and their three young children, produced the #BlackFathersDay vignette through his company Divergent Media. The Kansas City-based content creator often uses his own platform to speak out on issues of racism and social injustice. Null and Beleaf partnered on the campaign in hopes of sparking a movement. "We hope this video can be a good starting point to get the creative juices flowing to [encourage others to] tell their stories," he said.
Check out the clip below:
Father's Day is June 18th and we'll be keeping an eye out for more #BlackFathersDay stories.